Discount supermarket Aldi has become the latest grocery chain to pledge a new minimum price to farmers for milk sold in its stores.
The grocer said it will pay at least 28p per litre from next Monday following talks with the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The announcement follows numerous demonstrations against supermarket chains over the past few weeks, with farmers calling for a fairer price for the dairy industry.
Protests have seen farmers buy up stocks of milk from store shelves and then give it away for free, set blockades at distribution centres and even bring cows into supermarkets.
Tony Baines, managing director for buying at Aldi, said: “Aldi has wide-ranging, long-term commitments to British farming and this new price agreement is the latest example of our support for the sector.”
Rob Harrison, NFU national dairy chairman, said: “We welcome this commitment from Aldi as part of the company’s wider support for British farming.
“Aldi has shown that it supports the farming community and has developed sustainable agreements with its liquid milk suppliers, in addition to its existing strong commitments to the farmers of Britain in fresh meat and produce.
“We will continue conversations with Aldi as to its position on cheese and other dairy products.”
In related news, Bradford-based Morrisons today launched a Milk for Farmers cheddar cheese. This will cost 34p-a-pack more than its standard cheddar and will deliver the equivalent of 10p-a-litre back to farmers who supply the milk.
This will be in addition to its new brand of premium milk announced earlier this week, which will see 10p per litre going to farmers.
Morrisons said it hoped this offer “along with the other initiatives we have announced this week will help our suppliers to better support British dairy farmers”.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said today its milk prices were already “competitive” and that it was dedicated to paying farmers a fair price.
The spokesman added: “Our dairy group farmers benefit from a cost of production model - this sets a price that directly reflects their costs on the farm, building in a profit, as well as rewarding outstanding animal welfare and environmental standards. This price is updated every three months to ensure a fair deal for the farmers involved.”
Yesterday, Asda announced that it is increasing the price it pays its milk supplier to ‘’a level that will assist’’ farmers.
Asda will commit to paying 28p per litre for 100% of its liquid milk volume throughout its entire range.
A spokesman for the supermarket said: ‘’We have confirmed to our milk supplier, Arla, that we are increasing the price we pay per litre from Monday to a level that will assist our farmers during the current crisis.”
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: ‘’The NFU has been lobbying tirelessly for Asda to recognise the plight of the dairy industry so we are pleased that Asda has moved to support farmers in their hour of need.”
Tesco has so far ruled out a similar move to Morrisons, saying that it pays a fair price based on the cost of production.