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to not want to pay rock bottom prices?

(75 Posts)
dolphinsandwhales Mon 17-Mar-14 15:13:47

Disclaimer: I'm not wealthy, I'm a single mum with a job and mortgage and dc to support. However, I feel very uncomfortable when I see the likes of Tesco/ASDA advertising discounted 4 pts of milk for £1 etc. I understand they are a business, but I'd rather pay an extra 30p if that would ensure the farmer is paid a living wage, the animals get a decent standard of life. Same with fruit, veg and other food (I don't buy meat so that's not an issue to me).

I've started to only shop in 'more ethical' supermarkets like co-op and waitrose for this reason, Aibu to think it's in no ones interest for prices to be so cheap that those down the supply chain suffer?

Ploppy16 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:57:09

I know plenty of farming families who drive decades old range rovers and don't send their children to private school, in fact I married into a farming family who gave up milk supply a long time ago because they couldn't afford it. It's a ridiculous generalisation to say that all farmers are rich.
OP I do understand what you mean but an awful lot of people can't afford an extra 30p everytime they buy milk.

Normalisavariantofcrazy Mon 17-Mar-14 15:58:18

I don't get why the onus should be on the cash strapped consumer and not the multi million pound making corporation?!

ppeatfruit Mon 17-Mar-14 16:04:27

I think, I HOPE that there are a few ethical supermarkets who make sure their suppliers are paid properly. NYANBU

We're lucky in that the supermkt. we go to in Fr. is only organic and they charge LESS (especially for the fresh produce a lot of which is locally produced too) than the normal supermarkets. We go to the markets too and they're cheap.

If i had to I would go without something else to pay proper prices for my food I prefer to eat healthy unsprayed, untreated with antibiotics food.

LaGuardia Mon 17-Mar-14 16:14:42

Hey, OP, don't sweat it. I live out in the sticks are there are no poor farmers around here. All enjoying their EU subsidies, and driving around in brand new Range Rovers, wearing Barbour jackets and braying in the local pub.

wowfudge Mon 17-Mar-14 16:34:31

It's been well publicised that supermarkets have made life hell for dairy farmers. I'm with you OP - YANBU.

MoominMammasHandbag Mon 17-Mar-14 16:44:28

We get our milk from the milkman now: costs a bit more but means that we don't run out and we also avoid those expensive top up shops.
But an unforeseen benefit is that the milk, from a local dairy, tastes massively nicer than the supermarket stuff. So much so that I reckon a lot of supermarket milk must be watered down or something.

Sallyingforth Mon 17-Mar-14 16:44:47

I doubt very much that the farmers are being paid less.
The shops are taking a hit on the price at the moment, BUT they are not being generous and you are not saving that 30p unless you are living only off milk. They will be making it up with an extra penny here and tuppence there on the other products that you buy.

MoreBeta Mon 17-Mar-14 16:45:39

When I was a child you could still buy 'farm gate' milk but health and safety regulations put paid to that.

Our food in the UK is industrial in all its dimensions.

The UK has never been able to produce all the food it needs since the 1700s. We just don't have enough land and hence a lot of our food has always been imported. Much of our milk is imported now.

My father was a farmer and at age 16 I told him I did not want to be a farmer as there was no money in it. That was 34 years ago. There is still no money in it.

If very high food standards were imposed and enforced rigorously in the UK like in Switzerland then UK farming would be viable and food would be higher quality. We would have to enforce rigorous import controls to stop inferior quality food entering the country too - the EU prevents us doing that. Switzerland does do it because it is not in the EU.

WorraLiberty Mon 17-Mar-14 16:51:31

*We get our milk from the milkman now: costs a bit more but means that we don't run out and we also avoid those expensive top up shops.
But an unforeseen benefit is that the milk, from a local dairy, tastes massively nicer than the supermarket stuff. So much so that I reckon a lot of supermarket milk must be watered down or something.*

I use a milkman too Moomin

I wonder if the difference in taste is that the supermarket milk is normally in plastic tubs rather than glass bottles?

WorraLiberty Mon 17-Mar-14 16:51:45

Bold fail blush

Owllady Mon 17-Mar-14 16:53:53

Kendodd, do you live by a dairy farm?
I do and dairy farmers are not rich and are going out of business at an alarming rate and one of the reasons is they are not getting paid enough for the product they produce. Long term we will end up paying more for milk as it will have to be imported

McPie Mon 17-Mar-14 16:55:06

I think they call promotions like this a "loss leader" as they take a hit on one product in the hope you will buy other things whist you are in store.

francesdrake Mon 17-Mar-14 16:55:33


Owllady Mon 17-Mar-14 16:56:10

I think some of you need to read a bit more or at least watch countrywide. It's been widely reported regarding dairy farming and how many of them are operating at a loss! A lot if dairy farmers are tenant farmers too not land owners

abitofanangrybird Mon 17-Mar-14 16:58:08

My husband is a former dairy farmer - he switched to arable only in the 1980's as it is impossible to earn a living wage as a full time dairy farmer. The British dairy industry is on it's knees, and unless something pretty drastic happens very soon practically all if our milk will be imported in the futurehmm. Companies such as Riverford and Abel & Cole offer an alternative and pay their suppliers a fair price, albeit at a higher cost to the consumer.
To suggest that all farmers are wealthy is ridiculous and ill-informed rubbish. There's a reason that suicide rates in the farming profession are so high.

abitofanangrybird Mon 17-Mar-14 16:59:39

*its not it's!

dolphinsandwhales Mon 17-Mar-14 17:02:42

Interesting replies. I've read in the press a few times that farming is the employment with the highest suicide rate and I've also read criticisms some of you have mentioned, where the likes of ASDA/Tesco force down their prices so far they can barely afford to operate. I'm sure the likes of Mars can stand up to the big supermarkets, but I doubt individual farmers can.

I hope co op and waitrose may be fairer, but who knows. I just feel uncomfortable paying reduced prices when I'm sure it's the farmer/animal welfare that suffers.

mrsjay Mon 17-Mar-14 17:04:03

I was thinking that the other day when i saw the advert going on about farmers how can farmers make a profit if the store is selling milk a a £1 I dont know do the supermarket pay the cost and then reduce it or what ? right enough it is going great guns tesco had no green milk at all yesterday

dolphinsandwhales Mon 17-Mar-14 17:05:22

Abitofanangrybird I'm very interested in what you've said, seems like I need to order from Abel and Cole then. I had read about the suicide rates too. Also the suffering of animals on large scale industrial farms due to costs being driven down so far. It's all very sad.

wobblyweebles Mon 17-Mar-14 17:06:02

Milk prices in the state I live in have a fixed lower limit to solve exactly this issue.

My MIL used to be a farmer and she gave up when it became impossible to make enough money to pay her farm manager (she paid herself nothing). So that's a farm manager looking for another job.

Hippymama Mon 17-Mar-14 17:07:59

I live rurally and don't see many poor farmers where I live (not saying that there aren't any, just that all the ones I know where I live are very comfortably off). The majority of them here manage to drive new range rovers and own two or three properties that they rent out (we rented our last home from a farmer). Some of their children attend private schools and have regular skiing holidays. They work very hard for what they've got, but are not "poor".

Last winter we could not afford to buy heating oil for our house, we are poor. 30p might not be a lot in your budget, but as our food budget is £35 a week it is for us, especially as we have a young child and drink a lot of milk.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Mon 17-Mar-14 17:20:40

I come from a farming family but thankfully my parents got out of it. None of my family are rich through farming. My grandparents have been abroad once to stay with family. I've never known any of them to have a new car (and even then they're not exciting). None of them could ever afford private school in a million years. We have two suicides in my mum's lifetime.

TheGirlFromIpanema Mon 17-Mar-14 17:21:31

I wonder if the difference in taste is that the supermarket milk is normally in plastic tubs rather than glass bottles?

Milkman style milk is not homogenised like supermarket stuffworra so it does taste different. I love the creamy bit off the top of the bottle and hate supermarket milk.

neepsandtatties Mon 17-Mar-14 17:23:46

Farmers do take the hit when supermarkets discount their goods, here is an (admittedly old) article about it, but I assure you it still goes on, exactly the same.

"Discounts such as "buy one get one free" are not a generous gift from the supermarket. What they mean is that the farmer will be paid less � but he or she has no ability to negotiate or even be informed if their crop is put on special offer. If a crop has been over-ordered and doesn't sell, the supplier may have to pick up the cost of disposal."

francesdrake Mon 17-Mar-14 17:27:01

I live rurally too, and I don't know any rich dairy farmers. In fact, the ones I was at school with had to develop their own business sidelines away from supplying supermarkets, because the milk prices they were getting were so low as to be unworkable. If Tesco is taking the hit to make £1 milk a loss-leader, then fair enough, but there's enough PR mileage in supporting dairy farmers for that to have been well-publicised were it the case, so I'm betting it's not.

I really don't want to see super-shed farms full of cows crammed together and pumped full of chemicals to produce maximum yields for minimum outlay; for one thing, the transmission of hormones into the general public can't be a positive step, surely?

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