Farmers call for retailers to be scrutinised on milk demand

Limiting the range of dairy products available to consumers is 'neither helpful nor necessary at this time', the Tenant Farmers' Association said
Limiting the range of dairy products available to consumers is 'neither helpful nor necessary at this time', the Tenant Farmers' Association said

Government has been urged to scrutinise supermarkets on their measures to increase the throughput of dairy products to satisfy enhanced retail demand.

The overnight loss of food service, hospitality and catering outlets as a result of the coronavirus control restrictions has had ramifications for the dairy sector.

This has led to some dairy farmers with no other option but to dispose of milk on farm.

The NFU said during yesterday's crisis meeting with MPs and officials that the survival of many dairy firms hit by Covid-19 depends on 'urgent action' from the government.



Now the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) is calling on the government to look at ways to enhance retail trade of milk and other dairy products.

The group is calling on more scrutiny directed at retailers on how they are increasing throughput of dairy through their stores to satisfy consumer demand.



“There is plenty of supply in the sector to remove the need for retailers to limit purchases," TFA chief executive, George Dunn, explained.

"There is an opportunity for retailers to provide a wide range of products to consumers who will be looking to recreate restaurant style experiences at home."

Limiting the range of products available to consumers is 'neither helpful nor necessary' at this time, Mr Dunn said.

"Processors must not be put under undue pressure to fund promotions, to access shelf space or retain their retail listing.”

The TFA said, however, that not all of the output previously destined for the foodservice sector will find its way to consumers through retail.

Alongside the efforts to enhance retail trade, government has also been urged to intervene in the market to support volume reduction measures and remove surplus product.

Rather than placing stocks of milk into store, by converting it into butter, powder and cheese, the government should coordinate the purchase of product to be redirected to the charitable sector including food banks and other relief efforts.



Mr Dunn explained: "This will ensure that everyone has access to good quality dairy products and we are not creating a situation where stocks are overhanging the market for when conditions are beginning to return to normal.

"Short-term volume reduction measures should also be considered as well as retirement options for those dairy farm businesses which may not consider that they have a future beyond the current crisis.”