Asda has launched an ambitious bid to overtake Tesco as the UK’s biggest retailer of standard fresh milk.

Speaking at an event to celebrate five years of Asda’s DairyLink milk supply scheme, Sarah Baldwin, Asda category director for core chilled, outlined her vision to DairyLink farmers.

Two years ago “we were seeing a lot of switching going into discounters” on standard fresh milk, Baldwin said, but Asda’s milk sales were now “on a huge trajectory” and it was currently clear second, in terms of share, behind Tesco and ahead of Sainsbury’s.

According to Kantar, Asda currently has a 14.4% volume share of standard fresh milk sales, up from 12.5% last year. Tesco’s share is 25.1% while Sainsbury’s is 11.4% [52 w/e 19 February].

Asda’s increase in share last year followed its decision to cut the price of four pints of milk from £1.53 to £1.25 in July 2010 and a succession of further price drops. It currently sells four pints for £1.18 [].

Baldwin did not comment on pricing but said the “next step” for Asda was to overtake Tesco. “I do want to go after Tesco and I do want to get to number one,” she said, although she acknowledged the target was ambitious.

Encouraging children to drink more milk would be a key part of Asda’s strategy to close in on Tesco and counter the decline in milk consumption in the UK, Baldwin said. After the age of six or seven, children tended to switch to soft drinks, she added. “We need to educate them that milk is good for you.”

She also highlighted the success of Asda’s Disney Cars and Disney Princess fresh semi- skimmed milk products (39p for a 250ml bottle), and signalled her support for increasing character licensing in milk and other dairy products.