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England needs additional support

While I welcome the 3m [pounds sterling] grant from MAFF to Food from Britain to help rebuild the image of British food after the foot and mouth crisis (The Grocer, May 12, p6), it seems like a drop in the ocean compared to the job FFB is facing.

Now that pictures of the funeral pyres have been beamed round the world, it will be a colossal task to change perceptions of British food -- and it will be all British food, not just meat and dairy products that will need to be supported.

The 3m [pounds sterling] looks even more meagre if it is to be spread right across the British market. Haven't Scotland and Wales got their own organisations already pouring millions of pounds into supporting their producers?

At the IFE show earlier this year Wales and Scotland had very expensive looking stands compared with the English section. Talking to some of the exhibitors in the English section they felt like the poor relations to their Welsh and Scottish counterparts.

Considering the difference in size between the countries you might expect it to be the other way round.

In these days of devolution, perhaps it is time for a `Food from England' organisation so producers here get a fair share of the funding that is on offer.

It doesn't seem right that FFB is promoting the whole of Britain, and that Wales and Scotland get additional support, while England misses out.

John Yates Bridlington

A delisting conspiracy suspected

Sir; Am I alone in detecting a sneaky trend among the more upmarket supermarkets of enticing shoppers to buy ever more adventurous food products with top quality brand labels. Having got us and our families hooked on those specialities, they then withdraw them, only to introduce their own label versions ,which, almost without exception, are inferior.

This leaves the family shopper feeling really cheated. If we'd never had it, we wouldn't miss it, but ...

Even for a general weekly shop, I am finding that increasingly I have to seek out the specialist to obtain the tried, trusted and qualilty brands that also give me good value. De-listings in my nearest Waitrose over the last few years, for example, are legion -- from mustard to shampoo and deodorant through to dog food. I have counted a total of 25.

With leisure time in short supply, shoppers will end up giving the supermarkets a miss and take their business to their specialist where they can get the brands they like. To compensate for the higher bills, they will cut back on the non-essentials.

That is until those brands are driven to extinction by the supermarkets policy.

M Collins Windsor

Death knell for local pharmacies?

Sir; What a sad day for local pharmacies this court decision about Resale Price Maintenance is. The multiples of course want to take over the entire retail world, but I am disappointed that the legal world should come down in their favour.

This trumpeting of cheaper prices for the consumer is just hypocrisy.

Asda and the like just want domination, and local communities with their charming variety will suffer.

Jo Grant Wokingham

Don't link food with production

Sir; It is with interest that I read that a new department of food and rural afairs is to be formed in the wake of the foot and mouth crisis.

Not that I believe MAFF has particularly failed to perform in the context of what has been the most serious outbreak of the desease the developed world has seen.

Rather, I am disappointed that, again, food consumption is being linked to food production in the new ministry. The trade might have fears that responsibility for food will go to the DTI, but this seems a reasonable place to control what is a production process.

Then the product -- our baked beans and beef -- can be placed under the watchful eyes of a stronger FSA that has the function of `guardian of food standards'.

D McManus Clapham, London


Sir; I was interested to read on your excellent GrocerToday web site all about Safeway's Carlos Criado-Perez crowing about the hike in profits.

Congratulations to the Argentinian for turning round what I have long considered to be quite a shabby chain of supermarket stores.

Well, I would say that wouldn't I, as I live in south east London. It seems to be the part of London that Safeway has forgotten about, particularly the Upper Norwood store.

It's hardly a backwater of London, so why is it treated as such? Believe me, I wouldn't shop there if I had a choice and a car. There's hardly ever anything fresh for sale. Shelves are often sad and empty, particularly on Sunday mornings.

Even basics such as bread rolls, eggs or single cream can be hard to come by on some days. The Wow deals may be a good idea but they make the store look downmarket and there's never anything on offer that I'd actually want to buy.

Please, Safeway, can you route some of your hard earned profits to making your Upper Norwood store a pleasure rather than a pain to shop in?

A Tilstock Upper Norwood

Date Event Venue Contact

June 1 Thames Valley NGBF Madejski Stadium Phil Taylor
 Sports Quiz Reading 0118 977 6977

June 9 NGBF Sponsored Towers Park NGBF
 Freefall Assault Poole 01252 515946

June 24 Grocers' Race Great Woburn Safari Trolley Hotline
 Trolley Race Park 01293 610365

July 4 NGBF Anglia branch Braintree Golf Ron Turner
 Golf Day Club 01245 381145

Aug 22 NGBF Golf Classic Sunningdale John Lee
 01403 273273

Sept 5 NGBF Golf Day South Winchester Tony Elliot
 Golf Club 01962 879724

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Date:May 19, 2001
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