Supporting farmers is crucial for our future
Wednesday, 7th December 2022 by Chen
Metske Bore Place Market Garden

UK farmers are often left with less than 1p profit from the purchase price of the food they produce, but farmers selling through GC and retailers like us are able to make a small profit allowing them pay their staff fairly and invest in further sustainability measures across the farm.

A new report from Sustain looked at five everyday food stuffs - apples, carrots, cheese, bread and beefburgers - and found that, after intermediaries and retailers take their cut, farmers are sometimes left with far less than 1% of the profit. They often receive a smaller cut of the selling price than the distributors and processors in the supply chain.

A carrot grower selling to the supermarket supply chain gets about 14p (25%) of the 54p selling price per 1kg and makes no profit. By sellling though a not-for-profit food hub like GC, an organic carrot grower recoups their costs of 85p, and makes a small profit 5p profit (3%).

The report Unpicking Food Prices: Where does your food pound go and why do farmers get so little? also calls on government to make supply chain regulations fairer for farmers, to invest in hubs and local processing that could shorten chains, and to make food chains more transparent. 

“It is astonishing how little of the money we pay for our food ends up in the hands of the farmers and growers," says Vicki Hird, head of farming at Sustain. "Farmers carry a lot of risk and work in difficult conditions to put food on our table. We also expect them to look after our landscape and our nature – and want them to do more of that in the future including protecting nature and helping to cut 30% of food based climate changing greenhouse gas emissions. If they are to do that, they need more money in their businesses. That money should not leach out of the system into the coffers of food industry intermediaries and supermarkets.”

Harriet Hammans of City, University of London (and the Better Food Traders), who co-wrote the report, says: “Three times more of your food pound goes to farmers with every purchase you make from your local Better Food Trader or not-for-profit food hub. Farmers make more money selling into this transparent, ecological supply chain to invest in their sustainable, organic businesses - which are the future of farming and our countryside.”