Morrisons is eyeing a new system of paying dairy farmers in the wake of the raging milk crisis, which has seen its existing model heavily criticised by shoppers and dairy farmers.

The supermarket has previously maintained that it does not plan to change the way it pays the dairy farmers supplying fresh liquid milk to its stores. Currently, it pays farmers a 1p per litre premium above the price paid by processors Arla and Dairy Crest.

However, in a statement to The Grocer, Morrisons confirmed it was now considering other options.

“We are looking to see whether there are other models we can use that better support farmers,” it said.

A spokesman for Morrisons would not be drawn on the alternatives under discussion and emphasised the retailer had not committed to changing its model.

However, earlier this month Morrisons told The Grocer it had “no plans to change our model because we prefer to pay a premium which includes all our farmers”.

Morrisons’ existing model has come under fire because it takes no account of variations in on-farm costs of production, which can have a large impact on dairy farmers’ profits. Tesco and Sainsbury’s, by contrast, both pay a price linked to farmers’ costs.

Last week, Sainsbury’s won a PR coup by putting information notices on milk shelves in-store, stating: “We pay a fair price to our British dairy farmers, which is directly linked to the cost of producing our by Sainsbury’s fresh milk.”