As the dairy industry continues in a perilous state, with many farmers being paid less than the price of production, regional retailer Booths has released figures that reflect that its customers are committed to paying a fair price to farmers.
In May 2014 Booths launched its Fair Milk scheme, pledging to always pay the highest market price to farmers. The scheme pledged to ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their milk, covering the cost of production and enabling them to invest in a stable, profitable future as a result.
All own label milk at Booths is traded as “Fair Milk”. Sales of Fair Milk at Booths have seen a 5% growth in the last 4 weeks, outperforming the market which saw just 0.3 percent growth as a whole (source: IGD, Institute of Grocery Distribution).
The market price paid to farmers is collected by an independent price comparison consultancy, milkprices.com, which monitors the farmgate prices of the major UK supermarkets. Booths review the market price regularly, to ensure that Booths is always paying their farmers more than their supermarket rivals. Currently Booths pays 33p per litre, the highest price in the market, 10p per litre more than Asda and Morrisons, and 1.02p per litre more than Waitrose.
Chairman Edwin Booth said: “Paying farmers a fair price for milk is as important to us as a business as it is to our customers, and the increase in sales is evidence that our customers wish to support dairy farmers, by buying Fair Milk. The retail industry’s obsession with price wars is destroying the dairy industry. If we continue to neglect our supplier base; this will have long term ramifications for the wider rural economy.
“Paying the highest market price means family farms are able to keep going, invest in the future and spend more time and money looking after their herds to ensure they produce great quality milk.”
Edward Booth (no relation to Booths family), a fifth eneration farmer from North Yorkshire who supplies Booths explained that the Booths Fair Milk scheme has changed the fortunes of their family farm and allowed them to invest in their business for future generations.
“I’m a dairy farmer through and through and cows are in my blood. I would do anything to keep farming dairy cattle. The benefit of an assured “fair price” for our milk not only sustains the livelihood of the farmer, but also the welfare of our livestock.”
“Booths’ Fair Milk scheme is not simply a response to the current farming climate; we made a permanent decision to commit to paying our farmers a fair price. Booths stand by their promise and commit to paying the highest farm gate price for milk in the market,” said Edwin Booth.