More than 80% of British consumers say they would be willing to pay up to 20p more for a standard four-pint bottle of milk, according to AHDB’s consumer tracker.
About 31% of those surveyed said they would pay up to 10p more, while just 8% of consumers said they wouldn’t be willing to pay anything extra at all.
The survey also showed the British public is empathetic towards dairy farmers, with 82% saying they would be disappointed to see a reduction in dairy farming and 76% declaring they would do something to stop this from happening.
More than half of the public said they intended to buy more products with a quality logo, with 43% indicating they would change to a retailer that sold only British dairy products.
See also: Why this dairy recovery is the real deal
While most consumers would pay more for their milk, the figures may not materialise in higher milk sales, with consumers admitting that price and freshness of their milk were the most important factors to them, with origins and ethics lowest on their list of priorities.
The results will, however, raise the question of why retailers aren’t charging more for milk to reflect the true cost of production.
The dairy industry has been experiencing the worst crisis in 20 years, with farmers facing the brunt of a combination of overproduction and low demand resulting in rock-bottom prices.
Despite signs of a recovery and tentatively increasing milk prices, many producers are still selling their milk to processors for less than the cost of production.
Last year, supermarket Morrisons introduced “Milk for Farmers”, which passed on a 10p/litre premium to producers.
The scheme received heavy criticism, however, as the premium was split between more than 12,000 Arla members across Europe – not just British farmers as the packaging suggested.
The retailer reported strong sales, with “Milk for Farmers” surpassing sales of organic milk within the first month. It has since expanded the brand to include cheese and cream as well.
A similar scheme, “Arla Farmers Milk” was also launched in Asda in July, also with a 10p/litre premium split between Arla’s 12,700 dairy farmers across Europe.