Farming groups have praised retailer Aldi after the retailer announced it will spend an additional £3.5 billion on its British farmer suppliers.
The supermarket chain unveiled plans to boost the amount of food and drink it buys from suppliers within the next five years as it continues its rapid UK expansion.
Aldi is also investing £500m in new and upgraded stores, distribution centres and its supply chain in 2021.
This will create over 4,000 jobs as well as new opportunities for UK food and drink producers, the retailer said.
The NFU welcomed the announcement as 'positive news' for British food and farming businesses.
A union spokesperson said: “Aldi is making further commitments to invest in the UK supply chain, a pledge which will help British food and farming businesses to grow.
“Aldi is already a big supporter of British agriculture, spending over £8bn with suppliers in 2019 and sourcing core ranges of fresh meat, milk and eggs from Britain.”
The retailer has also confirmed that the immediate payment terms for small suppliers it introduced at the start of the pandemic will be extended until the end of 2021.
This means it will continue to process payments for suppliers with an annual turnover of less than £1m as soon as they are submitted, benefitting more than 1,000 firms in its supply chain.
Giles Hurley, chief executive officer at Aldi UK, said the supermarket chain is expecting significant sales growth in 2021 as new stores are opened.
"With the vast majority of our grocery products now coming from British suppliers, our growth will lead to additional jobs and investment in our UK supply chain.”