Muller Wiseman lorry © Muller Wiseman© Muller Wiseman

Muller Milk Group (MMG) has issued a robust defence of its decision not to increase its base milk price, ahead of a series of protests planned by Farmers for Action. 

In an open letter to farmers, group chief executive Ronald Kers said their standard non-aligned milk prices remained competitive and would not be changing for September.

Mr Kers pointed to the fact that over the past 12 months its average non-aligned price had been 20.8p/litre and 22.9p/litre with retailer supplements added on.

See also: FFA anger as Muller raises formula milk price

This was above that of competitors including the likes of Arla Direct, First Milk and Meadow Foods, which averaged 20p/litre.

He added that Muller’s pricing did not “track the extremes of the spot market,” which protected its suppliers when competitors were receiving as little as 7p/litre. 

The letter, issued just hours before planned action by FFA members, added that price rises would only reach the farmgate when higher returns were realised within the business. 

Criticism

Mr Kers used a large portion of the letter, sent to all 1,900 Muller suppliers, to indirectly criticise FFA’s decision to stage protests at its Market Drayton factory.

“We are confident that our supplying farmers are not the ones who are turning up at our dairies intent on illegally seeking a halt to operations, as opposed to peaceful protesting which we have no issue with.” 

“We will of course take whatever means we can to protect our business from any disruption that could add cost or impact the service we provide to you [their producers].”

The FFA protests follow Muller’s announcement that they would not be increasing their standard non-aligned milk prices for September, a move described by the NFU as an “insult” to producers.