Premier Foods chief executive Gavin Darby means business. As The Grocer reveals, he has written to Premier’s 3,000 suppliers outlining plans to halve its supply base - and meanwhile is looking for cash contributions for a “mutual investment programme”.

With hundreds of suppliers facing the chop, the implicit threat with which he’s demanding immediate cash will rile many, but it’s high time Premier got a grip on its costs.

Despite its scale some of its disposed businesses have been surprised at how uncompetitive Premier’s purchasing was.

“Premier Foods can’t just rely on selling the family silver”

Guy Montague-Jones, senior reporter

Nor can Darby rely on selling more of the family silver. Saying goodbye to quality brands - like Quorn, Branston, and Hartley’s - ultimately makes it harder for the business to trade its way out of trouble.

So Darby is right to focus on improving what he’s got.

And this week’s decision to create a separate milling business dedicated to serving third parties is also a welcome move that should make the operations more commercially oriented. The only question is: why didn’t Premier think of doing it before?