Exclusive Supermarket chiefs are growing increasingly frustrated at the bad press they continue to receive ­ and some are now in favour of forming a dedicated body to fight for food retailers. None of those speaking at the IGD convention backed the idea from the platform. But several top executives privately made clear to The Grocer their concern about the relentless criticism ­ and agreed something had to be done. We understand one option being debated is a new independent retail lobby body which would sit alongside IGD, drawing research and intelligence support from that organisation. During the convention, Richard Baker, deputy chief operating officer of Asda, blamed the industry for having allowed consumer trust to be further eroded in the past two years. He said Asda research showed there were a number of reasons for this, not least "yo-yo pricing" and the perceived poor treatment of farmers and suppliers. Baker urged the industry to go on the offensive: "We need to be better at telling our side of the story because I am not sure we are getting our message across." David Webster, chairman of Safeway and IGD president, warned: "IGD research shows most consumers are ignorant of, and indifferent to, the processes by which food arrives on shelves."Most worrying, he said, was the fact consumers still thought retailers and manufacturers took most out of the chain ­ 70p per pound in profit. "Does it matter that our customers know so little of our industry? I believe it does matter a lot, partly because ill-informed consumers are vulnerable to the misconceptions shared by some in government, the media and the more strident NGOs." Grocery's poor image is also a problem for suppliers, and it became one of the themes of the conference. Bill Ronald, md of Mars Confectionery, said the industry had dug itself into a trench. "The industry must have some of the best marketing talent in the land so let's direct some of that energy to the collective good of the industry," he said. l See Opinion, p22 and Conference report ­ p18. {{NEWS }}