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31 October, 2007

Milking the farmers

In an article about alleged price-fixing of dairy products sold in supermarkets, the BBC quotes an average retail price of 56.3p for a litre of milk, of which only 18.08p goes to the originating farmer.  Less than a third – pretty disgusting, really.

I'm all for commercial competition, but I feel that price cuts should come out of the retailers' profits rather than being borne by the suppliers.

Ultimately, the power is in the wrong place. If milk producers formed a cartel and dictated the price at which they'll sell to retailers, somehow I wouldn't mind so much.
If the retailers passed on the increase (absolute, not proportionate!) to customers, fair enough, though I might well favour from the retailer willing to accept the lowest profit margin. And if that means supermarkets, genuinely outcompeting corner shops, that's fine with me – I'm not inherently anti-supermarket.


exactly. i've toyed on and off for a while now of seeing if i could help organise one myself.

at the formation of australia, a number of such socialist (social responsibility) institutions were formallly instituted as government non-profits, and for precisely that reason: to redress known and/or likely imbalances of bargaining power. a few still exist, such as the wool board and the wheat board, which purchase ALL the wool/wheat, then bargain individually with purchasers of all sizes for the on-selling price. growers are not legally allowed to sell elsewhere domestically (fine internationally, iirc), in order to prevent "voluntary" optouts forced on individuals by large purchasing power (similar to the farce of the EU working time opt-out, which is mandated by most London employers) a lovely example of a short-term restriction (of choice) being a necessary long-term protection (against others' abuse).

(as some protections ceased to be necessary as the traditions in opposing subcultures shifted, they were dropped. it is no longer compulsory to be part of a trade union, for example.)

the UK presently needs similar in most agricultural markets. the prices to farmers of hard-to-export goods such as meat or milk are essentially set by a handful of national supermarkets. and specifically by a tiny group of inward-looking administrators, whose performance is only measured by their costs and ease of admin.

note they occasionally shift the price for PR purposes or to head off competition reviews. one such happened recently, when tesco's (iirc) "voluntarily" lifted its purchase price of milk by 3p (& the others followed suit), thereby nobbling the growing mutterings in the govt oversight body. the RESULTANT price is that 18p cited by the BBC...

Posted by Saltation at October 31, 2007 09:58 PM

by the bye, your spam trapper rejected my initial hyphen-less spelling of social-ist, due to the presence of cial-is (s/-//)

you might like to consider changing your regex to word rather than string, or putting [ ,;:-\.] before and after?

Posted by Saltation at October 31, 2007 10:01 PM

Thanks – fixed (-ish). Socialism is no longer a dirty word.

"Workers of the world: untied!"

Posted by NRT at October 31, 2007 10:41 PM


in vaguely related news, you may enjoy this brief post and the note in the post immediately below re the price of local butchers' local meat's prices, sold (to their minds) at premium prices. certainly at premium prices to their standard commercial channels (assuming they're allowed to sell to them, which is not common):

Sal's Summer Steak Recipe

"I'd been astounded last week to buy in the town square's Saturday market a kilo of good local sirloin for 7. That's about a third or less of the supermarket price, and for much better meat. Some more local experimentive sampling was in order."

Come to think of it, on a tech note and completely unrelated to the topic at hand, you might be interested in the post above the link too.

Posted by Saltation at November 1, 2007 02:54 AM
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