In the week that Aldi and Lidl raised their milk prices, Iceland has hit back at calls for it to do the same, saying it already had strong dairy sourcing credentials.
The frozen food specialist said it was the processors that had cut farmgate milk prices, and stressed it was committed to ensuring its suppliers and customers got “the best deal possible”.
A spokesman said that Iceland’s support for British dairy farmers went beyond the current debate about liquid milk. “We buy nearly all our dairy products from UK processors - the vast majority of our cheese is from Milk Link, currently paying, I believe, one of the highest milk prices to producers,” he said.
Iceland said it would continue to “work very hard” to ensure its suppliers and customers got the best deal possible.
The statement comes as pressure mounts on Iceland and fellow frozen food retailer Farmfoods to follow Aldi and Lidl in paying more for milk. On Monday, Aldi became the first discounter to announce a two pence per litre increase, followed on Tuesday by Lidl. The major mults have been announcing a string of farmgate increases over the past weeks. Lidl told The Grocer it planned to capitalise on its increase in marketing materials.
“Posters will go up in store from August to highlight our support and explain that we have increased the price due to the pressures facing our British farmers,” a spokeswoman said.
The discounters are often accused of having started a retail milk price war with their low prices, but Aldi rejected this.
“Our prices have always followed market retail price trends to remain competitive,” a spokesman said. “When there have been retail price reductions, we have lowered our margins and never placed pressure on processors to provide us with lower-priced milk.”