Farm leaders have endorsed a report by MPs which says the milk market is not operating properly. The report concluded that was a lack of transparency and trust in the supply chain, and there was a margin of the retail price the committee could not account for. It also said there was a fundamental imbalance of negotiating strength between supermarkets and their suppliers.
"It is important that the government and competition authorities take heed of the report's findings," said dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones. "The NFU believes this report is an informative analysis of the events leading up to the price negotiations last autumn. We must all learn the lessons of that experience."
Food retailers have also voiced their support for the EFRA report and backed calls for the Government to maintain its role as the driving force behind the Dairy Supply Chain Forum.
As "fair trade" begins to catch on in the U.S., Europe's experience shows that the biggest winners aren't always the farmers -- but can be retailers that sometimes charge huge markups on fair-trade goods while promoting themselves as good corporate citizens. They can get away with it because consumers usually are given little or no information about how much of a product's price goes to farmers.
Sainsbury's, a British supermarket chain owned by J Sainsbury PLC, has sold fair-trade bananas at more than quadruple the price of conventional bananas, and more than 16 times what growers receive. Tesco PLC, another chain, recently tacked on $3.46 per pound for fair-trade coffee while the grower gets about 44 cents above the world market price.
"Supermarkets are taking advantage of the label to make more profit because they know that consumers are willing to pay a bit more because it's fair trade," says Emily Dardaine, fruit-product manager at Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, or FLO, a Germany-based federation of fair-trade groups.
IGD is challenging companies to demonstrate their good work and how much they put back into society by entering The Nestlé Award for Social Commitment, part of the 2004 IGD Food Industry Awards. The Nestlé Award is presented to the company that has demonstrated a proven long-term commitment to society and social issues through a local or national initiative.
Each year on 16 October, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day in commemoration of its founding on that day in 1945 at Quebec City, Canada. The theme for World Food Day and TeleFood campaign for 2004 is "Biodiversity for Food Security". It will highlight biodiversity's role in ensuring that people have sustainable access to enough high-quality food to lead active and healthy lives.
US retail giant Wal-Mart has said it wants to have a store in every country in Europe, either by opening its own stores or making large acquisitions. Seeking to to quell speculation that any near-term deals were planned, President and Chief Executive H. Lee Scott said: "It's not liable to happen next month or even next year, maybe."
With sales growing by 5% last year to USD256 billion, Wal-Mart remains the undisputed champion of the grocery world. As at the end of fiscal 2003, it operated a total of 5,374 stores across 13 countries, having opened 679 stores over the year.
New research from the UK's Consumers' Association has exposed huge variations in the amount of salt and fat found in different versions of five popular ready made foods, with some products containing as much as three times the fat per 100g and up to nine times the amount of salt of their rivals.