The supermarket, which last week celebrated five years of its Dairy Link dedicated suppliers scheme, sells around 11m litres of fresh milk a week, some 1.5m litres a week more than in 2007 and is confident that sales can be grown further.
Some of the volume growth has come from the additional Netto stores bought last year, category director for core-chilled products Sarah Baldwin said. But she insisted that price would not be the main way of trying to gain more business and said the supermarket was trying to increase consumer awareness of dairy and drive added value sales, such as flavoured and extended shelf life milk.
She added: “We’ve still got falling milk consumption in the UK, so we’re trying to get people to understand the benefits of milk and dairy products. Flavoured milk is a big and increasing part of our business and we’ve also started using product licenses so we can include things like Disney cartoon images on the packaging. This creates some ‘pester power’ and has been a great way of driving volume sales.”
Continuity of milk supply would be crucial though, which highlighted the importance of the dedicated supply group, she added. Asda secures all of its liquid milk via the Arla Foods and there are about 250 farmers in the dedicated milk supply pool.
Asda estimates that Dairy Link farmers have invested £60m in their businesses to improve efficiency and increase output since the scheme was started.