A row has erupted over Irish bacon prices, with pig producers accusing retailers and processors of failing to share increased margins.
The producers claim that the combined processor and retail mark-up is above 800%, more than double the margin of two decades ago ago.
At that time, according to leading Irish pig producer Michael Reilly, farmers were receiving the equivalent of 11.47/kg for pigmeat, with the finished product selling in the shops at 15.14/kg.
Today, the return to producers is just 11.25/kg, he claims, while the cost of rashers to the consumer has risen to 110.10/kg, representing a combined mark-up of over 808%.
Reilly, a former pigs committee chairman of the Irish Farmers' Association, said: "It's a complete rip-off.
"Supermarkets are either extremely greedy or extremely inefficient to charge these prices." He said he was now getting out of pig production "because it's madness to be earning 20% less that 20 years ago".
Dermot Jewell, chief executive of the Irish Consumers' Association, described the reported mark-up by processors and retailers as "astonishing" and said they owed the public an explanation.
But Gerry Farrell, spokesman for the Irish Business and Employers' Confederation (IBEC), representing both multiples and processors, said the mark-up claim was "misleading".
He said the figures related only to best-back bacon, which accounted for just 5% of total consumption.
"Going public with such selective statistics does no favours for Irish consumers," added Farrell.

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