Farmfoods faces more pressure on milk prices

Dairy farmers have pledged to target Farmfoods “indefinitely” until the company agrees to talks over paying farmers a fair price for their milk.

Hundreds of dairy farmers, backed by lobby group Farmers for Action (FFA), are gearing up for further action against the Scottish frozen food retailer tonight (Monday 6 August) after talks broke down over the weekend.

Milk distribution sites owned by Farmfoods in Warrington, in Cheshire, Solihull, in the West Midlands and Scotland are facing disruption to services.

Andrew Hemming, FFA vice president, said Farmfoods’ majority holder Eric Herd had twice agreed to talks over the last few days, but had pulled out on both occasions.

“There have been no negotiations with Farmfoods whatsoever,” said Mr Hemming.

“On Thursday night (2 August), we were promised a meeting with Eric Herd, which was declined about 30 minutes after it was offered.

“If Farmfoods do not come to the negotiating table, the protests will go on indefinitely until they do.”
Andrew Hemming, FFA vice president

“Then we were offered a meeting on Sunday (5 August) which David [Handley] and I were fully prepared to go to, but a venue could not be decided. We haven’t heard a word from him [Eric Herd] since.”

Mr Hemming added: “If Farmfoods do not come to the negotiating table, the protests will go on indefinitely until they do.”

Farmfoods is a Scottish frozen food supermarket chain based in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire. The company has expanded throughout the UK and has more than 300 stores.

Farmfoods recorded a 43% increase in pre-tax profits to £24.4m for the 2011 financial year, helping revenues break £600m for the first time in the company’s history.

The milk protests resumed last Thursday (3 August) when Farmfoods and Iceland were subject to protests by dairy farmers, who blockaded milk distribution sites.

FFA called off the protests against Iceland last week after company bosses from the frozen food giant agreed to “open its accounts” to farmers to discuss the fairness of the price it pays for milk.

A spokesman for Farmfoods declined to comment.

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