Michael Sloyan, chief executive of the British Pig Executive, says pig producers are under serious threat and that unless they get higher prices there could be major shortages of UK pigmeat. In the late 1990s there was a collapse in the pig price. It fell from 110p/kg for finished pigs to 80p/kg, causing tremendous hardship and a contraction in the industry. The situation today is worse in many ways, with virtually everyone in the industry struggling with higher feed costs. And it's not just wheat - the price of soya for pig production has gone up by two thirds in the past year. To put that in perspective, more than half the total cost of producing pigs is in the feed. One small bit of relief has been that we are mostly buying soya in US dollars from the US and South America - had the exchange rate not been favourable the situation could have been even worse. Most producers have already made some efficiencies, but even the most efficient cannot make a dent in the dramatic rise in feed costs. Producers are currently getting £86 per pig - which means most are losing £26 per pig. With feed prices likely to remain high, this is clearly unsustainable, with production costs going up every week but the price paid to farmers remaining stuck at 110p/kg. We have had sympathy and a good hearing from retailers. There have been some retail price rises but these are not finding their way down to the farmer. Most retailers are being driven by short-term supply and demand whereas this crisis requires a more strategic view to be taken. For example, Waitrose's business model has worked well, with co-ordinated purchasing across pork, bacon, sausages and so on. It also takes the view that it buys the whole pig carcase from suppliers and sells a balance of products that maximises value and minimises waste. And Waitrose has supported the price it pays farmers to secure supply in the future. Other retailers need to do the same, or they will find it ever more difficult to secure a share of the increasingly profitable standard and upper tiers of the British pigmeat market. The Save Our Bacon campaign, launched last week, is aimed at retailers and manufacturers, pointing out that they need to think strategically and act decisively to ensure their customers have a supply of high-welfare, quality-assured pork and pork products in the future.