First Milk is set to increase the price it pays farmers for their milk by 1p/litre from 1 November.
The UK farmer-owned co-operative will pay farmers in its manufacturing pool 32p/litre and those in its liquid pool 31.85p/litre.
“The work we are doing on the Lake District Dairy Company brand shows we are hunting down every opportunity to drive returns for members,” said chairman Bill Mustoe.
“We’ve seen the launch of Quark and Frumoo during the past few months, we’re now on television for the first time with the brand, we have introduced Red Leicester and Double Gloucester variants and the Lake District range is back in Morrisons. All of these actions will drive added margin.”
The co-op’s international expansion plans were driven by a dedicated export team in the UK and Asia, and a delegation from India had visited the dairy last week, he said.
“In all of this, it’s not about chasing volume overseas for volume’s sake – we’ll do it if the price and margins are right.”
The co-op’s 1,800 farmer owners will be told about the company’s strategy, brand launches and partnerships at the AGM and conference on 31 October in Telford, said Mr Mustoe.
The milk price announcement comes after the co-op announced an increased return on investment for farmer owners following strong performance in the first six months of the financial year.
Farmer members normally receive 3% return on investment twice a year, but will receive 8% this year. Three percent was paid in the spring and an increased return of 5% will be paid in October.
First Milk said the return was worth a total of £2,400 to an average 1m-litre farmer member who has about £30,000 invested in the co-op.