Milking parlour© Tim Scrivener

Retailers have been urged by the Scottish government to do more to stock and promote home-produced dairy products.

Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead called for more support for dairy producers during the country’s Year of Food and Drink at a Scottish Retail Consortium reception, after a crisis meeting with NFU Scotland (NFUS) and other industry representatives.

“Scotland produces some of the best-quality dairy products in the world and we all must do what we can to support our hard-working dairy farmers and processors,” he told retailers.

See also: Milk chiefs call for more EU dairy support

“The Scottish government and our agencies are doing all we can to support our dairy companies, such as First Milk, to respond to current volatility, develop their businesses and to take advantage of new market opportunities here in Scotland and beyond.

“A key part of that is seeing an increase in Scottish dairy products such as cheese, butter and yoghurt on supermarket shelves in Scotland and across the UK. I therefore urge retailers in our Year of Food and Drink to get behind Scottish producers, and also to make clear to consumers how much of the dairy they are buying comes from Scotland or elsewhere.”

“Scotland produces some of the best-quality dairy products in the world and we all must do what we can to support our hard-working dairy farmers and processors.” Richard Lochhead, Scottish rural affairs secretary

Earlier in the week Mr Lochhead told MSPs that he was taking forward a number of work streams identified in the recent dairy review, Ambition 2025.

“In particular we encourage farmers to contact the recently launched Dairy Hub which is a free service that offers advice and support on a range of issues,” he told parliament.

 Mr Lochhead added that there might be a case for the Groceries Code Adjudicator to shine more light on contracts across the supply chain.

“I refer to contracts not just between the primary producers and the processors, but between the processors and the retailers,” he said. “We must continue to shine a light on the supply chain to ensure that everyone is getting a fair share of every pound that is spent on dairy produce.”

Meanwhile NFUS chief executive Scott Walker said the union was taking heart from the number of Scottish consumers who had been in touch through their website and social media, pledging their support for Scottish dairy farmers. 

He said: “We urge all Scottish shoppers to continue to seek out Scottish brands when they are buying their milk, butter, cheese, cream and yoghurts.”