Sainsbury's has revealed how much supermarkets pay farmers for milk- and claims that at least two of the big four stump up less than the cost of production.
The figures have been released as part of the grocer's latest ad campaign, which claims that “at Sainsbury's we support our British fresh milk farmers,” asking whether “your supermarket” does too.
That depends on your supermarket. Marks & Spencer and Tesco come out looking like the cat who got the full cream, with both businesses actually paying more for four pints than Sainsbury's.
But Morrisons and Asda, two of the country's biggest supermarkets, pay more than 10p less than the cost of production, the advert claims.
Discounters Lidl and Aldi are also on the naughty list, while Waitrose “refused to confirm farmers' contracts”.
In a blog, Sainsbury's food commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks said:
In difficult times such as those we face now, our farmers will receive a higher price than they would in the open market. In other years they may receive a lower price, but the price they receive is always above their cost to produce. We and the farmers in Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group (SDDG) benefit from a longer term relationship based on greater certainty for all, enabling both parties to invest with confidence in the future of the industry.
Sainsbury’s must remain competitive for our customers, but when we drop the price of milk to match competitors the cost of doing so is not passed onto our farmers.
The state of Britain's dairy farming industry has become a hot potato, with MPs yesterday urging the government to implement greater protection against falling milk prices, with many retailers supposedly using it as a loss-leader.
But the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the new Groceries Code Adjudicator did not have responsibility for pricing.