Budget supermarkets Lidl and Aldi are the latest grocers to announce an increase in pay packets to farmers from next month in light of the ongoing milk crisis, it has been announced today.
Eager to be seen as supporting farmers by increasing wages by an extra two pence per litre following protests over the issue, both supermarkets say this change will become effective from August 1st 2012 when major price processors are proposing further cuts directly affecting the farmer‘s pay following reductions earlier in the year.
A spokesperson for Lidl said that this latest change to wage structure is still under review.
“We wholeheartedly support our British dairy farmers, who play an integral part in providing all our consumers with the top quality British milk they require and, for that reason, we have taken the decision to pay an additional two pence per litre of milk purchased, effective 1st August,” said the spokesperson.
“This is in response to the situation the dairy farmers are currently facing due to the increased pressures mentioned above.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and we welcome any initiative that will enable British dairy farmers to operate in a fair position with processors and large food retailers alike.“
Last week, rival grocer Morrisons was attacked for only paying one pence above the price processors pay, forcing the chain to review its policy.
The decision by Aldi and Lidl follows news that the pair have seen massive growth in market share for the 12 weeks ending July 8th 2012, adding fuel to claims of a “two nation divide”.
Aldi informed the National Farmers Union last Friday of its wage change, effective from next week, to those farmers who are not currently part of a milk contract scheme.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “The recent milk price reductions and proposed cuts announced for August have been applied by processors without any influence from us.
“As a discounter, it is our number one priority to provide consumers with market leading value.
“The discount model runs with narrower margins than the major supermarkets who must take the responsibility to lead the market.
“We can never be in a position where we are uncompetitive, but strive to always be in a position where we are fair.
“Farmers are facing increasing pressures, not just because of the reduction in the price they are paid for their milk, but also because of the extreme weather conditions.
“This increase is a direct response to the situation facing farmers at this difficult time.
“Furthermore, we welcome the notion of any scheme that promotes fair pricing for dairy farmers and provides a level platform for all parties involved in the production, distribution and retail of fresh milk.”