Retailers, caterers and food processors have agreed to join farming business leaders in a forum set up by English Farming and Food Partnerships.
EFFP has decided to give associate member status to supermarkets like Asda, Morrisons and Tesco, as well as food service companies like 3663 and Brakes.
Forum chairman and vice chairman of EFFP, Lord Carter, said: “It is a positive step towards bridging the gap and building greater partnerships between farmers, growers and their food chain customers and suppliers.”
EFFP hopes that the retailers will provide input to the forum and eventually even buy supply chain services from EFFP.
Associate director Stuart Thomson said the aim was to boost communication along the chain and share responsibility for tackling cost issues.
EFFP’s 50 farmer-controlled business members broadly welcomed the news, which was broken at the annual general meeting on 31 October.
Collaboration could be taking a new turn, as Asda has already made enquiries about the viability of bulk buying feed to reduce costs for its meat suppliers.