28 Mar 2023

British Berry Growers: "We need fair prices from retailers"


The British Berry Growers association laments the growing inflation gap between retailers and growers and calls on supermarkets to pay a "fair and reasonable price."

Retailers "seem to be looking out for themselves," and if profits for British berry growers do not improve, they will be forced to reduce the volume of soft fruits produced. That's the harsh warning from the trade association British Berry Growers, which has accused retailers of failing to raise the price paid to growers in line with rising production costs.

The association's president, Nick Marston, said, "Increasingly, retailers are talking about their support for British farmers, but at a time when British farmers need it most, the talk is not reflected in reality. It seems that retailers are taking care of themselves at the expense of British farmers.

"If we don't address this issue, British berry growers will begin to reduce the number of berries they grow because they are unable to make a profit. That's why British Berry Growers is demanding that retailers pay a fair and sustainable price for British berries so that we can all continue to enjoy home-grown berries for years to come."

Nick Marston, president of British Berry Growers.
Nick Marston, president of British Berry Growers.

Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed a 13.3 percent increase in food inflation for December 2022, with no immediate signs of decline.

Meanwhile, a report by Anderson's Farm Business Consultancy revealed a minimum grower cost inflation of 15 percent for 2022, bringing total grower cost inflation in two years to a minimum of 26 percent.

British berry growers have not seen a similar increase in prices paid by retailers. In fact, according to British Berry Growers, there has been no increase in the average price paid by retailers to berry growers. As an example, members of the association reported an average year-over-year yield increase of 0 percent for strawberries, the largest product in the berry category.

The latest BRC data show a widening inflationary gap between retailers and growers, which could lead to greater instability in the category. This could pose a serious threat to the sustainability of the UK soft fruit market, a sector worth more than £1.6 billion to the UK economy, British Berry Growers said.

Fruitnet is part of the NCX Media network.

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