The Co-operative Group has handed a two-year deal to supply all its own-label milk to Robert Wiseman Dairies.

The mutual had previously sourced 25% of its own-label milk from Dairy Crest, with Wiseman providing the remaining 75%. Under the terms of the deal, which begins in August, around 350 dairy farms will provide milk exclusively for The Co-op.

Moving to a dedicated supply scheme would help improve animal welfare on member farms, The Co-op claimed.

Tim Hurrell, chief executive of The Co-op’s food business, said the move would create “long-term, transparent relationships” with its farmers.

“Wiseman has been a valued supplier to The Co-operative for many years and has consistently demonstrated high service levels,” he said. “It has proved to pay, on average, a higher standard farm gate milk price to British dairy farmers than any other major liquid milk processor.”

Wiseman MD Billy Keane added: “We have invested heavily to create a network of dairies focussed on fresh milk and worked hard to build a reputation for quality and service.”

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