Shoppers are paying more for British apples but growers are not the ones profiting.
That was the message from British Apples and Pears (BAPL) executive chair Ali Capper, as she criticised comments from the British Retail Consortium director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie made on BBC's Countryfile programme.
Ms Capper said Mr Opie's comments implied supermarkets could not pay growers a ‘fair return' as they were keeping prices low.
"That is simply not true," she said.
🍏🛒 Supermarkets Say They Support British Apples, But Do They Really? 🤔🍎— Great British Apples and Pears (@GBApples) October 1, 2023
Did you see @BBCCountryfile last Sunday? Andrew Opie from @the_brc said supermarkets are "fully supportive of British fresh produce." But is that the whole story?
British apple growers strongly… pic.twitter.com/XzOoutf3Jb
"Shoppers are already paying more - 17 per cent more for British apples in UK supermarkets. It appears retailers have increased the prices of apples and pears to cover their increased costs, but not the increased costs of their suppliers.
"Someone is making a profit, but it is not growers."
BPL analysis shows a dramatic drop in grower profitability, with average levels of profits across six major growers declining by 133 per cent.
It said input costs have grown by around 23 per cent while supermarkets paid growers, on average, only 0.8 per cent more than the previous year.
BAPL growers were also surprised by Opie's remarks statingsupermarkets are fully supportive of British fresh produce.
"Talk is cheap," Ms Capper added.
"For the BRC to claim that retailers are 100 per cent invested in our British supply chain is disingenuous at best. The numbers do not lie."
She said the situation was putting the future of British apple growing at risk and if retailers really were doing their best to ensure a sustainable future, farmers would not be pulling out of apple growing or reducing the number of trees they planned to plant.
BAPL said it was also surprised to hear Andrew Opie ask the Government for additional support for the industry
"Shoppers are already paying more for their fresh produce." Ms Capper said.
"We don't want them to have to pay higher taxes to support the industry as well. We want profit-led investment by growers, but that requires a fair return from supermarkets."