NFU Scotland has accused retailers of jeopardising UK food production and supply by using “cut-throat” tactics.

The criticism came as Fife-based Kettle Produce, which supplies over one third of all the UK’s prepared vegetables, announced yesterday (9 December) it was to axe 100 jobs.

This, NFUS believes, is due to retailer pressure on the business and they have called on the Scottish, UK and European parliaments to address the issue.

Jim McLaren, NFUS president, said major retailers in the UK were exploiting suppliers by not putting agreements into “fair and equitable contracts”.

“Arrangements operate on little more than day-to-day gentlemen’s agreements, with all the power lying with the retailers,” he said.

Mr McLaren singled out Tesco and blamed their introduction of Fresh ‘n’ Low milk as being unsupportive to dairy farmers.

The supermarket faced criticism after the supermarket offered the Wiseman brand at just 50p for two litres last weekend (6 and 7 December).

“They are currently selling this milk at less than they are paying for it in order to hasten its uptake by consumers,” Mr McLaren said.

“Retailers seem incapable of thinking beyond the supply of the next truckload of fresh produce at the back door of the store.

“That narrow-minded view of the UK retailers will return to haunt them unless they change their behaviour towards suppliers now.”