Err, Mr. Raynor?

Meanwhile, there has been a seismic shift in the economics of world food. Expanding middle classes in China, Brazil, Indonesia, India and elsewhere have made producers realise they no longer need to deal with British supermarkets and their thuggish approach to doing a deal. Citrus growers in South Africa are refusing to have anything to do with UK plc. Many New Zealand apple growers would rather sell to China, which will pay as much for ungraded, unpacked fruit as the British will pay for graded and packed. It\’s the same story across meat, dairy and grains.

OK, fine. Other people getting rich puts up the price we must pay for the things we desire. I\’ve not got a problem with that.

The price pressures on the supermarkets, desperate not to lose market share, are huge. Morrisons and Asda have started to get rid of the middle men in their supply chain and go direct to the farm gate to reduce costs, but that will only be a stopgap. They have to start paying British farmers more so they can invest in homegrown agriculture, so, in turn, our self-sufficiency will improve markedly. The supermarkets will have to take smaller profits, a fact of life investors will have to get used to. And yes, consumers will have to accept a further increase in the price of food, perhaps from the current 10% of income to 13% or 14%. Otherwise, we will be left at the mercy of the international producers who have no incentive to trade with us and who can charge what they like.

Food might indeed rise as a percentage of income. But it\’s that last sentence that confuses.

Otherwise, we will be left at the mercy of the international producers who have no incentive to trade with us and who can charge what they like.

They can\’t charge what they like, can they? They can only charge what someone is willing to pay. Which, presumably, is why you\’re recommending that we should be willing to pay a little more ourselves.

4 thoughts on “Err, Mr. Raynor?”

  1. Well, it’s back with this recurring problem of articles written by people who do not understand the simplest basics of economics, but think they are fit to judge the complicated stuff; much like somebody pontificating about special relativity who thinks the speed of light is variable or something.

    See also, politicians.

    In this case, no understanding whatsoever of value theory and price systems.

  2. One phrase from the article:
    “… consumers will have to accept a further increase in the price of food, perhaps from the current 10% of income to 13% or 14%”
    The one item of expenditure you can’t get round spending on. Food. Maybe if they didn’t tax the fuck out of everything else it’d be a higher proportion. So exactly which bit of public spending is Mr Raynor suggesting is foregone so people can still afford to eat?

  3. Morrisons never use middle men, they source their produce from the grower and process it themselves. Having been reminded of this I might go and visit them this afternoon!

  4. He’s a restaurant critic and novelist. So it’s no surprise that simple economic ideas like price and supply and demand are somewhat above his pay grade.
    “Jay Rayner’s book on the challenges of food security in the 21 century, A Greedy Man in a Hungry World, will be published in May”
    Can’t wait.

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