Supermarkets facing allegations of "ripping off" shoppers have an unlikely ally in Robert Forster of the National Beef Association, who said on Monday: "It would be difficult to make any accusation that they act against consumers' interests because so many of their fresh food prices are alarmingly low." Dismissing claims that the multiples collude on price, Forster said it was price competition that caused problems, the retail discounts making it "difficult for producers, processors and packers to secure adequate returns". He said multiples should switch to quality based price premiums, leaving more money upstream to meet wider "social and environmental responsibilities." {{MEAT }}