Andrew Opie (British Retail Consortium)

I’m really pleased that the BBC1 programme Rip Off Food managed to highlight the imbalance of power that still exists in the milk supply chain. You can find a link to episode 2 of this programme here (opens in a new window). But, how could Andrew Opie of The British Retail Consortium sit there and tell Gloria Hunniford that the problems facing Britain’s dairy farmers are nothing to do with the supermarkets? He suggested that others sourcing large quantities of milk (such as the government) should follow the lead of supermarkets and “do a proper deal with the processor that specifies the price that you’ll pay to your dairy farmers and make sure therefore that a sustainable price gets to those dairy farmers”.

Cumbrian MP Tim Farron pointed out that the mark-up supermarkets make on milk has roughly tripled over the last decade, whilst the margin that farmers make has either stayed the same or decreased. Tim said “the supermarkets are clearly the villains of this piece”. He highlighted the fact the supermarkets blame the processors but in the end it is those supermarkets that the processors are selling the milk to. He said “thousands of dairy farmers are exploited and the supermarkets need to confess their part in all this and help contribute to making it better”

Tim Farron MP

Let’s make one thing clear. The milk price debate is not over. The issue has not been resolved. Rises in the costs of production are still outstripping milk price increase on farms.

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