'It's not sustainable for anybody': Farmers losing profits as supermarket inflation bites

Farmers have told ITV News Correspondent Rachel Townsend that they simply cannot see an obvious solution to cutting food prices

For five generations, farming has been in Annabel's family. Based in Yorkshire, she grows around 2,000 tonnes of strawberries, supplying supermarkets and restaurants around the world.

But she says she is being forced to take a lower price for produce or it won't sell.

Annabel, who runs Annabel's Deliciously British, told ITV News: "We are absolutely in the retailers hands when you're growing big amounts of fruit like we are, you can't sell it to somebody else.

"We have 24 hours to sell it, we have no shelf life. So you are trapped, you've got to sell it and therefore you have to take the price they're offering for it because your hands are tied."

Annabel told ITV News she is being forced to take a lower price for the produce from her farm. Credit: ITV News

Dairy farmers too are feeling undercut. Charles Goadby from Manor Farm in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, says inflation is bad, but farming inflation is even worse. As a result, Charles says he makes a loss on every pint of milk they sell to supermarkets.

He said: "It's not sustainable for us as a business and it's not sustainable for anybody. At the end of the day, if farmers are going to be pushed more and more into the red, then farmers are going to go out of business and we're going to see shortfalls and empty supermarket shelves."

And what compounds the problem of rising costs for farmers is the drop in consumption of fresh, often more expensive, produce as customers continue to prioritise low prices.

So what is the solution? Sadly there appears to be no obvious one.

Charles told ITV News that his dairy farm is making a loss on every pint of milk it sells to supermarkets. Credit: ITV News

Hugh Padfield runs Park Farm in Bath and produces cheese and milk. He believes the answer is further government support, but its approach must be more targeted.

He said: "All of us need food to live and that should be our starting point. Then we need to look at how we can do that while helping nature and global warming.

"I think if the government focused the money we saved when we left the European Union on that then I'm sure the UK could lead the way in better, more sustainable food."

Perhaps the future relies on a more discerning customer choosing home grown produce. The sad reality though is that many consumers simply don't have the luxury of choice.

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