Industry experts have warned that the demise of UK food manufacturing will continue if the Competition Commission does not take action to stem the pressure that major retailers put on their suppliers.

Speaking in a week in which two more small food manufacturers went to the wall - and another was saved by a takeover - Duncan Swift, head of food and agri-business at Grant Thornton, said that a significant factor in the majority of manufacturing failures was the conduct of supermarkets.

He estimated that the number of businesses that had failed because of harsh treatment by supermarkets was "well into double figures", adding: "The Competition Commission should do what the OFT failed to do and look back at the cause of business failures over the last three years."

Aidan Bocci, chief executive officer of consultancy Commercial Advantage, warned: "We will see more manufacturers going into administration over time as major retailers create dominance in the market and look at every opportunity to ­consolidate their supply base and achieve efficiency in their supply chain.

"Small manufacturers often end up in the situation where they are the bottom of the pile in terms of priority for retailers."

This week Scottish confectioner Millar McCowan, which has an annual turnover of £8m and is best known for its Highland Toffee brand, and meat manufacturer TQF, which has an annual turnover of £2.5m and manufactures and supplies frozen and chilled cooked meat ingredients, fell into administration.

Also this week, £5m-turnover Cornish biscuit manufacturer Furniss of Cornwall, which entered administration last month, was saved by Cornish pasty maker Proper Cornish, which bought it out for an undisclosed sum.

A spokesman for the Commission said its inquiry team would be paying heed to business failures in the sector. "If suppliers are ­going out of business and the ­reason for that is claimed to be supermarkets then clearly it will be a relevant consideration," he said.