Don't blame the supermarkets too much...

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As the row over horsemeat being found in mince products continues to rage - are the supermarkets REALLY to blame? Or should we should all look a little closer to home.

Supermarkets serve their customers, and in the main those customers drive the products that are available. Supermarkets have to provide a massive range of products for those customers, while also serving their shareholders. Customers regularly demand cheaper and cheaper products - and the old rule regarding 'you get what you pay for' comes to play.

If price reduces something has to give. Ongoing service, quality of the product, the supply chain is squeezed... Lets remember that further back up this supply chain is the farmer - often a family run business that is finding it harder and harder to meet the quota's required at the prices demanded.

There are less and less alternatives for those farmers as the High Street Butchers and Fruit & Veg stores diminish, all as a result of supermarket pricing. And so we enter a race to the bottom as the supermarkets get richer, pay their staff peanuts, and the overall economy suffers as there are less small businesses surviving it all.

It really is time to change our approach - to start shopping with our local suppliers, people who are supporting families, and shopping with local businesses too.  The local economy is much more important than providing dividends to the shareholders of huge multinational companies. It starts in the High Street. Support your local trader. Please.

Nigel Short

Aston, S26, United Kingdom