The NFU, industry organisations and farmers have worked hard to galvanise public support for British dairy farmers. We’ve highlighted the problem in a very public way while showcasing the many reasons why and how shoppers can back British farming.
Retailers have seen the groundswell of support and have responded with varying measures across liquid milk and cheese sourcing.
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The details behind retailer announcements are still to be ironed out, and we are talking to the processors and meeting with the appropriate organisations to gain further information.
However, it is important to clarify the situation with any announced price changes. Asda, Morrison’s, Aldi and Lidl have independently decided to implement varying levels of ‘minimum farmgate pricing’ for their dairy products.
This means that when making arrangements with the relevant processor, the given amount (e.g. 26p – Morrison’s), will be returned across all litres that the retailer buys.
However, because those retailers do not have aligned contracts with specific farmers that supply them, the additional monies are spread across all farmers who supply that processor.
This means that any increase in money back to farmers will be spread more thinly because it is averaged with other market returns across all farmers.
Nonetheless, recognition of the short term challenges faced by our sector and additional revenues makes it an important step forward.
Morrison’s announcement of a new ‘milk for farmers’ brand across cheese and liquid milk will give shoppers the choice to pay slightly more (10ppl) for the product, with this benefit going back to farmers.
Consumers have been telling us they want to support the industry, so we now want to see that happen. This will be launched in early October and income from the sales will go to the processor to be shared out. Similarly, Arla have announced a new ‘marque’ with the aim of differentiating these products on shelf, but at no extra cost to shoppers.
The crisis we currently find ourselves in is enormous and varying. Although we have seen some good progress within retail, this alone is not going to help farmers out of the mire.
We are continuing to meet with dairy processors, food service, retailers and government as everyone is going to have to take responsibility if we are to see a sustainable dairy industry. Consumers are on our side, so let’s keep them there so that they can have a secure supply of British dairy products, today, tomorrow and in the future.