Using potatoes as a loss leader and reducing their price strips value out of the supply chain, analysts and potato industry leaders have warned retailers.

Potatoes were not a price-sensitive product, TNS Worldpanel communications director Ed Garner told a Potato Council conference this week. "If you cut the price of potatoes, the evidence is that it won't do much for the volume, all you'll be doing is giving your money away," he said.

Potato Council chairman Allan Stevenson called on retailers to alter their pricing policies to keep suppliers profitable.

"I would invite retailers to consider whether it's possible to soften the aggressive stance on potatoes to ensure the supply chain isn't going to have value taken out of it," he said.

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman agreed that retailers took an aggressive stance on pricing and said other approaches could be considered.