Peter Kendall will today urge retailers to demonstrate a ‘fundamentally more responsible approach to retail policy’, calling for an end to ‘bully-boy tactics’.

Mr Kendall, president of the NFU (National Farmers’ Union), says: ‘The global economic turmoil we are seeing means Britain is facing its sharpest downturn for a generation.

‘… We are receiving all too many complaints from suppliers, frightened of taking up their issues direct, who have had unilateral price cuts and demands for back payments and over-riders.

‘Frankly, some of these can only be described as outrageous, bully-boy tactics, and they must not continue as we head into recession.’

Mr Kendall continues: ‘While we fully recognise the plight of consumers and their need to buy good value food during the credit crunch, there is enough flexibility in the margin taken by retailers to offer competitive pricing without reducing the price paid to farmers, growers and other suppliers.’

Mr Kendall will urge supermarkets to be more responsible to retail policy in a speech to the Cardiff Business Club later today.

Give the very best of British life this Christmas – a subscription to Country Life