Milk bottles© OJO Images/REX

A north of England retailer has claimed that paying a market-leading milk price has helped to boost sales.

Booths, which has 30 stores across five counties, says its own-label milk sales have risen 5% in the past four weeks – beating 0.3% growth in the rest of the market.

The four farmers who supply the chain with 6m litres a year are currently paid 33p/litre under the Fair Milk scheme.

See also: Northern supermarket launches Fair Milk scheme

Booths launched the initiative in May, promising to pay producers the highest price in the market.

The supermarket’s chairman Edwin Booth said paying farmers a good rate was important to his customers.

“The retail industry’s obsession with price wars is destroying the dairy industry,” he said.

“Paying the highest market price means family farms are able to keep going, invest in the future and spend more time and money looking after their herds to ensure they produce great-quality milk.”

Supermarkets have been the targets of farmers’ frustration in the raging dairy crisis.

Groups of producers have blockaded distribution depots and staged trolley dashes, clearing the shelves of milk and giving it away for free.

Among the top retailers, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S run dairy supply schemes that cover farmers’ cost of production.

Those that do not, particularly Morrisons and Asda, have been criticised by producers and their unions.

Roughly half of all milk produced by British farmers goes into the liquid market.

Just under 5.5bn litres were sold in the year to 21 June – 3.3% more than the 12 months before.

But retail price wars and cost-cutting on the shelf meant the value of those sales fell 3% to £3.2bn.