from Philip Horsfield, commercial manager, Leathley’s Quality Fare Supermarkets, Colburn, North Yorkshire

Sir; I wonder how long it will be before the retail industry wakes up to the latest concept in price rises, the “stealth rise”. I have come to believe that within our legions of suppliers, certain ones are pushing through huge price rises on the back of product development.

The company that seems to be at the forefront of this alarming trend is Allied Bakeries. Over the years, this company has added value to its bread by supplanting Sunblest lines with Kingsmill products.

Sunblest is a proud brand with a strong heritage. It had many facets and I was happy to buy it.

Then it was eclipsed by the super premium brand Kingsmill. Since then, in my opinion, some Sunblest products haven’t tasted the same.

Where new Kingsmill premium lines which can be equated with previous Sunblest lines have been introduced, they have carried higher cost prices and lower retail margins in many convenience chains. Having exhausted the possible gains in the Kingsmill brand, Allied has now turned its attentions to Allinson.

Recently it delisted Hi Bran in several convenience chains and replaced it with Burgen Hi Bran.

You do not have to be a clairvoyant to guess how the pricing compares - very badly.

Now, information lands on my desk to inform me the product that was once the one against which all other wholemeals were measured is to be delisted.

Allinson Wholemeal 800g and 400g are to disappear and to be replaced by Allinson Wholemeal Batch. The price of the replacement bears no relation to its predecessor.

Am I just being a bit too suspicious about this or is there a long-term trend here?

Is Allied Bakeries the only supplier doing this or do other retailers have similar experiences elsewhere?