The NFU has officially registered its interest with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the proposed merger of J Sainsbury PLC and ASDA Group Ltd.
NFU Director General Terry Jones expressed concern in a letter to the CMA on the potential for such a large merger to have a negative effect on competition and consumer interest.
Mr Jones said: “Farmers and growers form the foundations of grocery supply chains – providing the British public with safe, traceable and affordable food for all incomes.
“The consolidation of retail buying power has been of great concern to our members for many years. If buyers working for this enlarged business abuse its market power and make unreasonable demands on suppliers by transferring excessive risk and unexpected cost to suppliers, which in turn damages their ability to innovate and invest, then ultimately this will impact on choice and availability for shoppers.
“From recent reports we also understand that ministers in both BEIS and Defra have called for the CMA to consider the impact on the supply chain and especially on small suppliers. The NFU welcomes these calls and we have asked the CMA to outline how they will reflect this in their investigation.
“The NFU will be examining this proposed merger very carefully. We will be undertaking our own modelling to examine the effects it could have on farm businesses and their offering to the public. Officially registering our interest in this merger with the CMA is an important first step.”