Millions of words have been written on this subject and I'm about to add another 330 or so. No doubt about it, bread is a very emotive subject.
Mahmed Dilloo, who has run Leverton Stores in London's Kentish Town for 22 years, had been supplied for all that time by Cranks, the tasty organic bread company. You will note the past tense. They've quit him in favour of the supermarkets. Can they do that, he wondered?
Yes, they don't have to supply anyone they don't want to, just as you don't have to serve anyone who comes into your store.
He had thought about going to his nearby Morrisons to buy the brand from them, but is now casting about for an organic alternative. Can anyone recommend a supplier?
It does also make one wonder whether Cranks jumped - or was it pushed?
Another retailer from South Wales, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me the story of a highly respected bakery in the area which, six years ago, sidestepped its independent trade altogether (which it serviced via local independent bakers' van sales) because onerous terms dictated by Tesco would take up all the fresh bread available on a Sunday. The bakery raised its minimum orders to full lorry loads only, which meant five gross of loaves per sales van.
Since the local independent requirement only added up to 300 loaves, this in turn meant that if independent stores did get fresh bread on Sundays, they would be getting day-old bread on Mondays. The van sales pulled out.
At the time, said the retailer, it was merely irritating. Later he realised what a relentless march Tesco represents. He spoke to lawyers who said that since no one had been directly refused supplies, it was not a Competition Commission issue.
The truth is, independent van salesmen lost their jobs, indie stores lost sales, punters were disadvantaged and the bakery now has all its eggs in one basket.