Iceland hiked the price of four pints of own-label milk by 6p this week, meaning all the major mults are now selling the SKU -which became a frontline in the supermarket price wars - for 95p or above.

After engaging in a so-called “race to the bottom” on milk prices last year, the mults have been gradually upping price points over the last few months.

Asda, which slashed the price of four pints of own-label milk to 89p last January, increased its price for the SKU to 95p in early May, followed by Lidl and Aldi [Brand View].

This prompted Iceland, which increased the price for four pints to £1 from 89p last October but dropped it back to 89p in March, to edge prices upwards again to 95p.

“All our past experience has underlined the importance of Iceland remaining competitively priced in milk to protect footfall into our stores,” said an Iceland spokesman.

“However, we are very conscious of the pressure on UK dairy farmers and have been looking to raise our retail selling price as soon as we could do so without risking a loss of business to our competitors.”

Iceland was “more than happy to follow other retailers in increasing the retail price of four pints of milk from 89p to 95p”, he added.

Meanwhile Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose are all now selling four pints of own-label milk for £1.

Another significant move on the milk aisles of late was Iceland’s decision to increase the price of two pints of own-label milk to 74p, up from the 50p price point introduced back in October. This brings Iceland into line with Aldi and Lidl on two pints, while Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are selling two pints for 75p, and Waitrose is the most expensive supermarket for the two-pint SKU at 89p.

Iceland has also increased the price of one pint of own-label milk to 44p, up from 25p. Aldi and Lidl are also selling one pinters for 44p, while Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda are selling them for 45p, and Waitrose for 49p.

Although prices for own-label SKUs are edging upwards, fresh milk is still cheaper in the mults than it was this time last year.

In the big five, average prices for fresh milk - across branded and own-label SKUs - are down 2% year on year [Brand View 52 w/e 22 June 2016].

This is despite a drop in promotional activity in the milk aisles, with the big five offering 328 promotions on fresh milk over the past 12 months, compared to 434 promotions during the same period last year.

There has also been a shift in the balance between own label and branded fresh milk promotions. Own-label accounted for a much smaller percentage of the total at 26.5%, compared to 47.5% the previous year. Cravendale - the most promoted fresh milk brand - accounted for 41% of the total, up from 28.8% the previous year.