A new milk brand for the Isle of Wight is hitting shelves today, after farmers on the island launched a campaign to save the local dairy industry.

Isle of Wight Milk will initially be sold in Tesco and South Co-operative Stores in Cowes and Freshwater as well as some independent retailers, with further stores to be added depending on consumer demand. Foodservice supplier Medina Valley Foods will also sell the milk.

The brand is the brainchild of the I Love Isle of Wight Milk campaign, which was launched in August to safeguard local milk production on the Isle of Wight and call for farmers to be paid a fair price for their milk. According to the campaign, the Isle of Wight had more than 300 dairy farmers in the 1960s but now has just 16. They also claim that about 80% of the milk from local producers is transported off the island while milk from the mainland is then brought in to be sold on the island.

Louise Hart, secretary of the Island Dairy Farmers Group, said the campaign was pleased to have Tesco and South Co-operative on board and was working hard to get listings with other retailers. “We are still in negotiation with other supermarkets and expect to make further announcements in the coming weeks,” she added.

Phil Ponsonby, The Southern Co-operative’s chief operating officer for food retail, said: “Our reputation as a co-operative is built upon the basis that we care about and work closely with the community and with local producers who supply our stores. The Isle of Wight is a rich source of locally produced food and drink, and provides a popular range in our stores with both residents and visitors to the island. Introducing Isle of Wight milk into our Local Flavours range is part of our ongoing support for local businesses and the rural economy in which we operate.”