The head of Morrisons has warned that “millions of people” rely on supermarkets as he dismissed claims that failing supply chains were good news.
Speaking to The Times, David Potts said that food choices were drying up thanks to Brexit and Covid-19.
Conservative MP Chris Loder last month branded supermarkets “commercial predators”, saying their collapse would be in Britain’s “long-term interest”.
“It will mean the farmer down the street will be able to sell their milk in the village shop like they did decades ago,” he said.
In response, Potts argued that big retailers had “built up quite a sophisticated supply chain that many millions of people rely on for availability for freshness and for value”.
Analysis by The Telegraph showed shopping locally would cost families an extra £700 per year.
Potts also appeared to push back against claims from senior Conservatives that business was “drunk” on cheap foreign labour.
He said the country needed “more pairs of hands, more visas”, admitting that Morrisons had “more vacancies than normal”.
“If you know there are people around the world who would like to work here, to help themselves and to help us help the country, that’s a good thing,” he continued.
Earlier this year, Morrisons became the first major grocer to pay staff at least £10 an hour.
Potts said an “underlying strain” in the food supply chain had hurt the availability of ready meals and fresh chicken.
Shelves have been emptied by a shortfall of lorry drivers and butchers, added to a CO2 crisis last month.
Morrisons reportedly has 100 shipping containers stuck at sea amid port disruptions in Asia and Britain.
“There’s plenty on our shelves, but there’s a more limited choice,” Potts said.
“It just feels harder than it needs to be.
“It’s a combination of Brexit, which was slightly masked by Covid, and then the two being together the following year.”