Premium supermarket Waitrose has lifted the lid on its dairy practices following Sainsbury's attack ad last week, insisting it pays “a fair price” for its milk.
The John Lewis Partnership-owned grocer was among those to appear on the naughty list of businesses that were accused of not supporting British fresh milk farmers.
The advert noted that discounters Aldi and Lidl, as well as two of the big four – Asda and Morrisons – paid less than the cost of production for four pints.
Waitrose was left in the more ambiguous position of having “refused to confirm farmers' contracts”.
But today the company said it pays 75.2p for four pints of milk, putting it ahead of Tesco and Sainsbury, although below Marks & Spencer, which pays 78p.
Waitrose said it sourced its milk from a closed group of 100 farmers and “closely collaborates directly with its farmers to set a price taking into account the cost of production and investing in programmes to strengthen farm resilience”.
Commercial director Mark Williamson added: “Waitrose is consistently at, or very close to, the top of the league table for the price our farmers receive for their milk and this has been the case for many years.
“We pay this fair price because it gives farmers the reassurance and confidence to invest in their businesses. Farmers are the key to a thriving agricultural economy and it is important they receive a sustainable return for the top quality milk they provide.
“Simply put, we want our farmers to have the confidence to stay in farming.”