Milk for Farmers milk and cheese

Morrisons has followed Iceland and raised the price of a four-pinter of milk on its shelves to £1 in a further move to support struggling dairy farmers.

The supermarket chain announced on Monday (7 December) it had increased the price of four pints of its own-brand fresh milk from 89p to £1.

The price of its Milk for Farmers four-pinter, which pays dairy farmers a 10p/litre premium, will also rise from £1.12 to £1.23 on shelves.

See also: How much Morrisons farmer milk brand will earn producers

The NFU welcomed the move, saying it was “another step” to support British dairy farmers.

However, Morrisons has not revealed how much more money farmers will receive from the price rise. A spokesman said that the information was “commercially sensitive”.

Morrisons buys its liquid milk from Arla Foods and Dairy Crest, which is all supplied by British dairy farmers.

Currently, the Arla co-operative pays a milk price of 23.04p/litre to its 12,700 owners, including 3,000 from the UK. Dairy Crest suppliers receive about £23.3p/litre for their milk.

Both farmgate milk prices are roughly 7p/litre below the cost of production.

It is unclear whether Arla or Dairy Crest will increase its milk prices for January following Morrisons’ announcement.

Morrisons’ dairy director Rick Bourne said customers were prepared to pay more for milk to support struggling dairy farmers.

“We believe that customers are now ready to pay a little extra to support the dairy sector,” he explained.

“Combined with the launch of Milk for Farmers range, which is now nearly three times more popular than Evian in our stores, we are doing our bit to support the dairy industry at this difficult time.”

Tesco and Iceland were the first retailers to increase the price of four pints of milk to £1 last month.

Last week, Farmers For Action chairman David Handley said he had received assurances from Asda bosses that it would be the next supermarket to increase its milk price to £1.

But that price rise has so far failed to materialise. On Tuesday (8 December) Asda was still selling four pints of milk at 89p.

NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison challenged other retailers to increase their milk prices.

“There are still a few retailers languishing behind on the support they provide to guarantee high quality British dairy products every day of the year,” he said.

Mr Harrison said only half of the UK’s total milk volume goes into liquid milk and there was a “real issue” with recent farmgate price drops for dairy farmers producing milk for cheese.

He urged supermarkets to focus on adding value and supporting farmers producing milk for other dairy products.

“We need to arrest the falling consumption of British cheese and we urge retailers and food service to do their bit in promoting this vital part of the sector in the run-up to Christmas and into 2016.”