sainsburys milk

Source: Liz Hoggarth/twitter

Sainsbury’s placed this notice in its Kendal store 

Sainsbury’s has faced shortages of own label milk in some stores following the collapse of supplier Tomlinsons Dairies last week.

Shoppers have taken to social media to complain about the lack of milk on shelves, with many stores in the north west of England and North Wales understood to have been affected by the supply shortages.

The retailer has placed signage in some stores, with one seen in its Kendal branch on 19 October stating it was ‘currently experiencing difficulties with the supply of our fresh milk’.

A total of 13 Sainsbury’s own label fresh milk SKUs were detected as ‘out of stock’ on Monday, according to data from Edge by Ascential. However, a spokesman for the retailer stressed “there are sufficient volumes of milk going into stores”.

The Grocer understands an agreement for Müller to take over the processing of milk from the 40 dairy farmers that supplied the Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group via Tomlinsons is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Wrexham-based Tomlinsons called in administrators PwC on 14 October, ending months of speculation about its future. It processed about 20% of Sainsbury’s entire own label milk supply. PwC said the business experienced “significant cashflow pressures”. It posted losses of £5m in the year to March 2018, and a further £2m in the 12 months to March 2019.

It comes as Sainsbury’s this week faced mounting pressure from the farming sector to honour the six weeks’ worth of milk payments owed by Tomlinsons to its SDDG farmers.

M&S, which was also supplied by two farmers via Tomlinsons, has already paid the six-week payment owed to them. In response, Sainsbury’s said it was “in talks” with the company’s administrators, farmers and the Welsh government.