12 April 2002

Lucrative deal for

Wiseman Dairies

ROBERT Wiseman Dairies has just won a lucrative new contract to supply 10% of Sainsburys fresh milk. But it denies this is the reason for the firms recent farm-gate price cut.

The Scottish dairy firm, which reportedly beat off competition from Scandinavian co-op Arla to clinch the deal, lopped 1.67p/litre off a standard litre from Apr 1, prompting some industry pundits to speculate the decrease was needed as part of a strategy to win the contract, estimated by one analyst to be worth £14m.

A spokesman said the contract was won after a three-month trial period during which Wiseman was able to prove the quality of its milk supply. "I dont feel there was any undue pressure over price. I think the multiples like product from new facilities," he added, referring to the firms recently commissioned plant at Droitwich Spa.

Wiseman now pays about 18-18.1p for a standard litre, similar to other major suppliers of liquid milk to retailers like Express and Dairy Crest. &#42