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Green: This is 'the most competitive food landscape'

The British High Street has "the most competitive food landscape for some time," according to retail mogul Sir Philip Green.

The businessman was under no illusions about how competitive food retail had become in the UK.

There's no point in opening up and getting torn apart because we haven't got competitive prices.

We know what we're going into - the most competitive food landscape for some time.

On the basis that everyone is going into the high street and convenience, maybe it's an opportunity. If you don't buy a ticket, you can't win the lottery.

– Sir Philip Green

Read: Sir Philip Green takes on discount supermarket wars

Sir Philip Green takes on discount supermarket wars

Billionaire Sir Philip Green will reportedly use BHS to start selling discounted food in a bid to join the supermarket price wars.

Read: Supermarkets still feeling impact of horsemeat scandal

Sir Philip Green
Sir Philip hinted he would start selling food at BHS last year. Credit: PA

The retail mogul told the Sunday Times the branded goods sold at BHS department stores would be around 10% cheaper than those from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

Sir Philip, who owns a number of the High Street's big names including Topshop, wants to take on cut price food retailers like Aldi and Lidl.

BHS is to see its first two shops to offer food, in Staines and Warrington, within days, - with plans for about 140 such outlets.

The openings will reportedly see sections of stores set aside for branded products such as bread and cakes, frozen items and soft drinks.

Read: Morrisons vows to take on Aldi and Lidl after losses of £176m

Read: Sainsbury's wins judicial review over Tesco pledge

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Sainsbury's wins judicial review over Tesco pledge

Sainsbury's has won a judicial review in a battle with rival Tesco's over claims about its prices.

The case centres on Tesco's Price Promise, which compares goods at different supermarkets and offer shoppers a refund if they could have bought something more cheaply elsewhere.

Sainsbury's has complained that Tesco do not compare like-for-like products - for instance, Tesco matches prices on its own-brand tea, which is not Fairtrade, whereas Sainsbury's is.

There will now be a hearing into the claims in about six months' time.

Morrisons to cut prices to take on Aldi and Lidl

Morrisons Chief Executive Dalton Philips said it was investing £1 billion over the next three years in an aggressive price-cutting strategy to take on discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, saying:

We are going to lower our prices on a permanent basis.

The biggest challenge that we face is that there has been a fundamental change in how consumers view discounters.

They are no longer going to them out of necessity. The perception has changed and there is a new price norm.

The rules have changed and we must change too. It is absolutely critical that we begin winning again in our core supermarkets. To do that we must compete on price.

Mr Philips said that after 2015/16 no new supermarkets would be built other than in exceptional circumstances though its network of convenience stores would continue to be developed.

Read: Morrisons reports £176 million annual loss

Morrisons reports £176 million annual loss

Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket Morrisons slumped to an annual loss of £176 million today amid falling sales and one-off costs of £903 million.

The struggling supermarket fell into the red in the year up to February 2, after a profit of £879 million the year before.

The supermarket said the 'challenging consumer and market environment' would persist into the current year. Credit: Press Association

The £903 million charge included write-downs on the value of its stores and its 2011 acquisition of online children's wear retailer Kiddicare, which it now plans to sell in the wake of a poor financial performance.

Like-for-like sales were down 2.8% for the year.

Read: Morrisons boss: 'Wish we'd launched online service sooner'

UK has 'perhaps the safest food in the world'

Barbara Gallani
The FDF's Barbara Gallani said the overwhelming amount of food in the UK was safe. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

British consumers have access to "perhaps the safest food in the world" after the horse meat scandal, according to a food expert.

Barbara Gallani, from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) told Daybreak the Government acknowledged there were "some vulnerabilities, some areas where consumers and business are exposed", which they were dealing with after the horse meat scandal.

"The changes that have been put in place are quite wide-ranging; first of all there are more announced audits in businesses. The testing regime has been reviewed, informed by risk assessments that are now based on a much broader range of data.

"What we have learned is a much better sharing of data and intelligence, to make sure we know where the risks are."

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LGA: It's up to manufacturers to ensure food safety

Responding to a study by Which? that highlights the "worrying decline" in local authority food checks a year on from the horsemeat scandal, the Local Government Association said the ultimate responsibility for food safety lies with manufacturers, retailers and suppliers.

Random sampling is just one tool available to councils and a reduction in testing does not mean an increased safety risk to the public.

Targeting high-risk businesses and acting on complaints is a far more effective use of their limited resources and also allows councils to free up responsible businesses from unnecessary inspections and red tape.

It is ultimately the responsibility of food manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to ensure the products they produce or sell comply fully with food law, are fit for consumption and won't risk public safety.

– Nick Worth, the Local Government Association's regulation spokesman

Read: Food testing down 6.8% over the past year

MP calls for improvements to food supply chain

Anne McIntosh
The public has to accept retailers are 'under huge pressure' to provide low cost food, Anne McIntosh said. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Food supply chains need to be examined and a network of analysts must be set up if the UK is to avoid another horse meat scandal, an influential MP has told Daybreak.

Head of the environment, food and rural affairs committee, Anne McIntosh, said the horse meat scandal had exposed security issues in Britain's food supply chain.

"If you look at the distance that some of the food was travelling that goes into these processed foods - a. It is a false economy, b. The traceability is much more difficult to secure," she said.

"I think we have to accept that retailers are under huge pressure to provide cheap food," Ms McIntosh added.

Read more: Food testing down 6.8% over the past year

Food testing down 6.8% over the past year

There is a "huge variation" in food hygiene standards across the UK, according to a Which? investigation launched in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

Food testing by local authorities fell by 6.8% over the past year, the group found.

The investigation by the consumer group into 395 local authorities across the UK used Food Standards Agency data and found:

  • Bexley in London was the poorest performing local authority, with five other London councils in our bottom 10 (Ealing, Enfield, Harrow, Richmond upon Thames and Southwark).
  • Cherwell District Council in North Oxfordshire was rated as the best performing local authority.
  • No official hygiene sampling was carried out at all by Bexley, Christchurch, Isles of Scilly, Medway, Tamworth, West Lindsey and West Yorkshire in 2012/13.
  • The overall testing rate fell by 6.8% in 2013.
  • Testing for labelling and presentation fell by 16.2%

Read more: Shopping habits 'changed' by horse meat scandal

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