Woolies’ fresh moves are welcome says Dairy Connect

Advocacy group Dairy Connect today welcomed supermarket chain Woolworths’ announcement that it will sell a newly-created fresh milk brand with part of the consumer price going to drought-burdened dairy farmers, with their homebrand 3 litre milk increasing by 30 cents immediately.

CEO Shaughn Morgan said the chain had broken the ‘$1 a litre price syndrome’ and was showing real concern for its dairy farmers by diverting part of the retail price for milk via dairy processors.

“It’s a great first step, but there is much more to create fairness all along the supply chain,” he said.

“Dairy Connect now calls on all supermarket groups to follow the lead and make the price initiative permanent and, not only in drought impacted states, but nationally.

“The move is a temporary measure focusing on drought affected dairy communities, but we believe the initiative should be national and the price adjustments should be permanent. We also continue to call for all dairy products to be increased in price, allowing for a higher farm-gate price.”

The new Drought Relief range would offer customers additional Woolworths full cream and lite milk at $2.20 for two litres and $3.30 for three litres, with the extra 10 cents per litre to go to dairy farmers in drought areas.

The supermarket said it would work with its own brand fresh milk suppliers who source milk from drought affected regions to setup an oversight committee.

This committee would include an independent auditor and dairy industry representation, and would ensure the extra 10 cents per litre was distributed to dairy farmers.

Shaughn Morgan said now that the $1 a litre barrier had been broken, there should be ‘no going back’.

“The Woolworths’ price move does not address underlying problems but is another incremental step and the new Mandatory Code of Practice in the dairy supply chain will deliver new opportunities for fairness and transparency,” he said.