Morrisons claims it is listening to customers as it launches premium milk brand to ‘help’ farmers

Morrisons says it has launched a new milk brand that will give money directly to farmers in response to comments from its customers on social media and in its focus groups.

The brand will sit alongside Morrisons’ own-brand milk but cost 10p more per litre, with all that money going directly to farmers. Packaging on the bottles highlights that by buying the milk consumers are “giving back to farmers”.

The milk will go in stores in around 6 weeks’ time. A Morrisons spokesman says it is still considering how it will develop in-store communications before looking at other channels to promote the range.

The move comes after Morrisons came under growing pressure from farmers, with nationwide protests from dairy and livestock farmers. The demonstraters have been participating in a campaign dubbed the “Milk Trolley Challenge”, where all the milk in a supermarket’s dairy aisles are bought and then given away for free outside.

Some have simply left full trolleys of milk at checkout.

Protests have focused on Morrisons, Asda, Aldi and Lidl which currently do not have agreements with dairy suppliers to pay a price above the cost of production for milk. Other supermarkets including Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op do – according to the National Farmers Union.

Farmers estimate it costs up to 32p to produce a litre of milk but the average price paid for milk fell to 24.06p in May according to figures from the non-profit dairy company AHDB Dairy.

Morrisons says it has also been listening to customers, which have been telling the retailer on social media that they would be willing to pay more for milk if they knew the extra cost was going to farmers. Research with focus groups found the same thing as did a recent survey by Mintel in which more than half of those questioned said they would accept the extra expense.

Grocer Booths also runs a more expensive milk brand that promises to give back to farmers with its “Fair Milk” scheme and has seen sales rise ahead of the market according to IDG.

Morrisons corporate services director Martyn Jones says: “We want to offer practical help by launching a range of four-pint milk at a retail premium of 10p per litre, all of which will be passed back directly to dairy farmers. We will stock this product in all our stores, offering our customers the choice to support dairy farmers directly.”

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Comments
  • Shoppercentric 12 Aug 2015 at 2:56 pm

    This will be an interesting opportunity to see if British consumers really are willing to support British Farmers – they are certainly voicing their willingness in research, so this is a real test case. We’ve always felt that shoppers are unlikely to be switching stores because of milk prices. There are retailers who have seen sales increase when prices drop, but was the uplift down to increased traffic to store – or budget shoppers taking advantage when visiting the store anyway? The Morrisons move means the consumer commitment to British Farmers can finally be tested – and if it works, then perhaps we’ll see moves on a variety of British Farm categories.

    There’s a lot to be gained by retailers and brands who recognise shoppers demands and this is definitely a story to watch closely. Transparency will be key since shopper cynicism is at an all-time high and they’ll want to know that the pricing increases are genuinely being passed back to the farmer.

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