Morrisons, Asda, Lidl and Aldi pledge to raise their milk prices to suppliers

Milk on shelves at an Asda supermarket. Photo:Antony Kelly

Milk on shelves at an Asda supermarket. Photo:Antony Kelly - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2005

Four supermarkets will increase the amount they pay their milk suppliers following a series of high-profile protests and campaigns this week.

The average farmgate milk price paid to farmers fell to 23.66p in June – a 25pc decrease in 12 months – while farmers estimate that it costs between 30p and 32p to produce each litre of milk.

Campaigners have drawn attention to the plight of the sector by removing cartons of milk from supermarket shelves, and one farmer even took dairy cows into an Asda store in Stafford to highlight the issue.

In response to industry calls for action, Asda, Aldi and Lidl have announced they will commit to paying 28p per litre for liquid milk from Monday, while Morrisons will pay a floor price of 26p per litre.

Earlier in the week, following a meeting with farming leaders, Morrisons launched a new brand selling milk with a premium of 10p per litre which it says will go directly to the farmers supplying the store's processor, Arla.

The chain's corporate services director Martyn Jones said: 'Consumers can choose whether they want to pay more to support British dairy.'

The retailer has also said it will launch a Milk for Farmers cheese line alongside the liquid milk line this autumn. This brand will cost customers 34p more than the store's standard cheddar, which the company says will equate to 10p per litre going back into the farm supply base.

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In a joint statement, the National Farmers' Union (NFU), Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) and Farmers For Action (FFA) said: 'It is absolutely vital that the extra money goes back to British farmers – we cannot emphasise this enough.

'Our main concern at present is that any relief within the cheese sector is being funded by price increases to customers. We believe there is sufficient margin within cheese sales which should avoid customers having to pay more.'