Supermarkets must mend relationships with suppliers

SUPERMARKETS are not ‘evil’ and will continue to play an important part in the future of food retail.

Speaking at the Future of Food conference in Cheshire last week Chris Dee, chief operating officer of family-run supermarket Booths, believed supermarkets had achieved ‘great things’ in revolutionising food retail.

Outlining the company’s philosophy, he said Booths valued the importance of high quality products and by working with local farmers and small producers were able to stock products other supermarkets do not have.

“The future of British food has to be about quality, not quantity,” he said.

However, Mr Dee acknowledged the recent horse meat scandal had highlighted the breakdown of communication and trust between farmers and retailers.

He said: “It’s really sad we have got to this stage. There has been a massive breakdown in trust over the years and it is just not necessary.

“Anyone can walk into a supermarket and not feel intimidated. It is where most of the British public choose to shop and it enables food production to reach a mass market.

“Supermarkets are not dead but their needs to be a change in how the main players operation and how they work with farmers.”

Mr Dee said although Booths was a small player possessing 0.3 per cent of the overall market, compared to Tesco which had 30.7 per cent of the market, its focus on quality and supplier relationships gave them their unique selling point to consumers.

“Booths has little presence on the internet. People enjoy shopping in our stores and we pay attention to the design, architecture, staff training and display. We cannot replicate that experience online.”

Mr Dee told delegates he was looking for meat producers in the North West and offered successful applicants a two-week window to appear at the front of Booths stores.

Market share

  • Tesco 30.7 per cent
  • Asda 17 per cent
  • Sainsburys 16.4 per cent
  • Morrisons 12 per cent
  • The Co-operative 7 per cent
  • Waitrose 4.1 per cent
  • Booths 0.1 per cent

Readers' comments (2)

  • Meanwhile Morrisons tell us to keep giving cheap milk to bolster their profits whilst being grateful .

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Achieved great things in revolutionising retail profit margins at the expense of farmers' incomes" is what Mr Dee really meant to say.

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