UK: Asda praised by dairy protesters for increasing price it pays dairy farmers for milk

Supermarket giant Asda has responded to pressure from dairy protesters to increase its milk price by two pence per litre (ppl) on August 1.

With backing from the Women’s Institute in recent days, a dairy coalition, made up of National Farmers’ Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, Tenant Farmers’ Association and Farmers For Action, has protested against milk price cuts made this spring and further cuts expected on August 1. It has called for dairy farmers to receive a price for their milk, one that covers the cost of production.

NFU President Peter Kendall said while there had been a deliberate focus to target the big players within the food chain that don’t have a mechanism to pay a sustainable price to their dairy farmer milk suppliers, the price increase from Asda should now pave the way for the three big milk processors to do the right thing.

“Today sees Asda joining Morrisons and the Co-operative in moving their milk price in the right direction,” he said. “They are all now committed to paying a price that covers their farmers cost of production. This is good news but the work is far from over.

“I know that despite all of the fantastic work to date there will be many farmers who remain unaffected by today’s news. Many don’t supply milk to a dedicated retailer milk pool and so behind the scenes we have started to tackle the discount retailers and food service companies. We will focus the spotlight on any company that is exploiting farmers and paying crazy low prices for their milk.

“This coming week will see the dairy coalition pulling out all of the stops to ensure the processors in the middle of the supply chain pull the August price cuts. This now has to be our focus. Those August 1 cuts by the three large processors, Dairy Crest, Wisemans/ Muller and Arla must not happen.”

Asda will increase the price it pays dairy farmers by an additional 2ppl from August 1 taking its base price up to 29.5 up to the end of the year when it will be reviewed.

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At the start of the campaign, during a dairy summit on Wednesday July 11, the coalition praised Tesco, M&S, Waitrose and Sainsburys for their pricing model which sees farmers are paid a price that covers their costs.