Protestors outside Meadow Foods© Michael Scott

Dairy farmers will step up their fight for fair milk prices by targeting major food manufacturing companies who use dairy products in their ingredients.

Farmers For Action (FFA) is writing to major food manufacturers who use dairy products, including Mars, Cadbury, Associated British Foods and Brakes, to ask them whether they believe farmers were being paid a fair milk price.

FFA chairman David Handley said dairy farmers were not convinced by statements from middle-ground processors that there was “no money left in the pot” to pay farmers more for their milk.

See also: Dairy farmers blockade Meadow Foods in milk price protest

He explained: “We will be writing to chief executives of major food manufacturing companies to ask if they are satisfied if the price they are paying for their dairy products is fair.

“Are they satisfied that there is a sustainable milk price being paid to dairy farmers?

“If they say no, we will be asking them to talk to us. If they show resistance, the dairy boys will be invited to visit their factories in the run-up to Christmas.”

Mr Handley said major confectionary manufacturing companies who were using dairy products had “not been taken to task” and he wanted to find out their opinions on farmgate milk prices.

“If they say no, we will be asking them to talk to us. If they show resistance, the dairy boys will be invited to visit their factories in the run-up to Christmas”
David Handley, Farmers For Action

He maintained that the processors who supply dairy products to these food manufacturers were “pocketing more money than they admit”, some of which could be redistributed to hard-pressed dairy farmers.

Mr Handley said: “The middle-ground processors, such as Meadow Foods and Paynes, are telling us: ‘We cannot pay any more money.’

“But we are sure it is not the hard-nosed world they are trying to paint as a picture. We will leave no stone unturned in the fight to flush out more money and pay dairy farmers a fairer price for their milk.”

Mr Handley said his lobby group also planned to target companies in the pharmaceutical industry, which were big buyers of dairy products.