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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 12:31 GMT
The British Aisles: supermarket nation
Declan Curry on the check-out at Asda
Declan Curry presents our week-long series
How much are you planning to spend on Christmas?

If you're an average British shopper, it's likely to be well over 600 - on food, drink and presents.

And, you're probably spending more of your Christmas budget than ever down at your local supermarket, rather than out on the High Street.

  • All this week, Breakfast's business presenter Declan Curry looks at the changing face of British supermarkets

    We'll ask why so many people claim to hate supermarkets - and whether they really are killing off the High Street.

    Breakfast's coverage day by day

  • Monday: more than just food

    Sophie Hutchinson and psychologist in a supermarket
    A psychologist explained how they make us buy more
    We're now prepared to buy a lot more than cans of beans from our supermarkets.

    The big success story of recent years has been the growth of non-food sales, from clothing to TVs and DVD players.

  • Declan Curry talked to Tony Page, who's the director of ASDA's non-food range.

  • And, we looked at the psychology of the supermarket run - and how they have ways of making you buy.

  • Tuesday: big bullies

    Do supermarkets mis-treat their suppliers, as the farming unions claim, or are they acting in the best interests of our customers?

  • We reported live from a dairy farm near Gloucester, where it's become almost impossible to make ends meet.

    Farmer Mark Williams told us he'd just reduced his dairy herd from over 100 to ten - and was still losing money on every litre of milk he produced.

    And we talked to the former chairman of Northern Foods, Lord Haskins, who told us farmers get a better deal from supermarkets than the catering trade.

  • We also talked to an organic apple-grower, David Deme who found the solution was to produce his own juice. And, we heard from farming campaigner Peter Lundgren

  • We also had another large e-mail response - and today, many of you were concerned about the supermarkets' impact on farmers.

  • Wednesday: death of the High Street

    Britain is known as a nation of shopkeepers. But is this still true? Are all our high streets starting to look the same as many local independent shops go out of business and the big supermarkets take over?

    What you told Breakfast
    If you compare the quality and price of meat at both the supermarket and at your local butcher, you'll head straight for the High St.
    Chris, South Derbyshire

    Declan Curry was at a high street shop:

  • He talked to Bryan Roberts a retail analyst and Stewart Wallis from the New Economic Foundation

  • He spoke to Colin Graves, Chairman of Costcutter

  • He discussed with Dave Gordon from the IGD and Theresa Wickham an Independent Retail Consultant

  • Thursday: putting food on the table

    Declan in Milton Keynes
    Supermarket distribution: 24 hours a day, on the day

    Strawberries for Christmas? No problem. Fresh kumquats at New Year? A breeze.

    You can get almost any food, however exotic, at any time of year, thanks to the supermarkets' complex distribution systems.

    Today Declan was at a Tesco distribution centre in Milton Keynes which serves several stores nationally. He looked at the hi-tech systems which allow goods to be delivered sorted and despatched extremely quickly.

    But has that come with the price of losing our connection with local suppliers and seasonal foods?

    And we also discussed how the supermarkets use loyalty cards to analyse our spending, predict what they need to order and build a profile of their customers.

    Professor Alan Hallsworth from the University of Surrey is an expert in this field. And Kevin Hawkins is the Director General of the British Retail Consortium.

  • Friday: the Battle of Britain's shopping basket.

    Where's our favourite place to pick up the groceries - the shop or the supermarket?

    Declan Curry talked to Malcolm Gluck who has written a super plonk column for years, and to food writer and author Joanna Blythman.

    Malcolm Gluck congratulated supermarkets for their wine selection approach. He also said supermarkets should be recognised as they have allowed independent shops to continue having the greater choice.

    Joanna Blythman
    Supermarkets tend to have "phoney bargains."

    Joanna Blythman said supermarkets appear to have the big bargains, but they are always on the loss leaders. She added they put a huge mark up on those products which are nutritionally beneficial. She urged us to buy from independents as they ensure true choice.

    We heard from Chef Brian Turner, and the comedienne and food lover Helen Lederer.

  • Supermarkets: love them or loathe them? You can use this form to e-mail the Breakfast team with your views.
    Your E-mail address
    Where you live

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

    Supermarkets: Tuesday
    We hear from a dairy farmer and the former chairman of Northern Foods, Lord Haskins

    Supermarkets: Tuesday
    We talked to an apple farmer - and heard from a farming campaigner

    BBC Breakfast


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