Plans to introduce a congestion charge in Manchester are "inappropriate", "completely arbitrary" and would hit business, leading food and drink companies have warned.

Kellogg's, United Biscuits, Makro, Bestway, Parfetts and Joseph Holt are among more than 120 companies in the Manchester area against the plans, launched this week, to introduce two charging zones around the city - an outer ring around the M60 and a second ring within the inner relief roads.

From 2013, vehicles would be charged for entering the zones at peak times and money raised used to support improvements in local transport.

Kellogg's, which has a factory in the city and is a founding member of the Greater Manchester Momentum Group formed to look at congestion and alternatives to road charging, said congestion charging was "inappropriate".

"Kellogg's has been in Manchester for 70 years and this is the first time businesses have not been consulted on a big change in the city," said Kellogg's spokesman Chris Wermann. "We're not against improving congestion but do not believe something 12 times bigger than the London charge in size is appropriate."

UB, which has a McVitie's factory in the proposed zone, added: "There would be significant charges for employees travelling to and from work and suppliers making deliveries to the factory."

Parfetts Cash & Carry, which has a flagship depot in Stockport on the outer boundary of the zone said the charge was "completely arbitrary". Although the depot was "a stone's throw" from Booker and Bestway depots on the same junction of the M60, Parfetts customers would be charged for visiting the depot at peak times while Booker and Bestway customers would not, said MD Steve Parfett.

A spokesman for The Co-operative Group, which has its HQ in the city but is not a member of the GMMG, said: "It is important that schemes of this type are backed by proven and affordable public transport."