Farm Ireland

Friday 20 July 2018

IFA protest outside supermarkets over 'milk price war'

The IFA is protesting in Portlaoise today over a 'milk price war'. Picture: IFA
The IFA is protesting in Portlaoise today over a 'milk price war'. Picture: IFA
There is no such thing as cheap milk - IFA President Joe Healy. Picture: IFA
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The IFA is staging a protest outside Dunnes Stores and Aldi supermarkets today in Portlaoise, over what it says is a "market grabbing milk price war".

It says that farmers are concerned about the "long-standing Dunnes' market share grabbing discount milk (selling at 67c/L) is starting to degenerate into a milk price war".

IFA President Joe Healy said specialist liquid milk producers, like all primary producers of fresh food, depend on being able to make a reasonable income from the retail chain.

A milk price war, he said, will undermine the sustainability of fresh milk producers, with Aldi "cynically joining Dunnes this week".

“There is no such thing as cheap milk. Fresh milk producers incur high costs and legitimately expect to be able to cover their costs and make a reasonable income from their specialist milk production. 

"Yet, experience tells us that farmers always come out the worst of these cynical grabs for market share by retailers. Any apparent benefit for consumers is short-lived, with the security of year-round, local supplies of milk from freshly calved cows being threatened by the erosion of margins in the chain,” he said.

Commenting, an Aldi spokesperson said its promise to its customers is that it won’t be beaten on price.

"To ensure we continue to provide the very best value groceries in Ireland, we have followed the market and reduced the price of our 3L milk to €2.

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“The cost of the price cut is being borne by Aldi. Aldi pays its suppliers a fair and sustainable price for all its products including its milk.” 

Chairman of the IFA National Liquid Milk Committee, John Finn added the IFA has met with most dairies and retailers – including Dunnes Stores and Aldi - to discuss our Milk Wise 2025 Strategy to protect the sustainability of fresh milk production in the best interest of Irish consumers.

“While they asserted their commitment to sustainability of supplies in our discussions, it is clear that Dunnes’ and Aldi’s actions do not match their words. They are devaluing our milk, potentially setting off a downward spiral in prices which farmers will, as usual, end up paying for."

He called on Dunnes Stores, Aldi and all retailers in Ireland to desist from the race to the bottom on retail milk prices, while he also said that dairies should resist the "bullying pressures from retailers to undercut one-another in a value-sapping, perverse, market logic which can only lead to falling producer prices and fresh winter milk shortages for consumers”.

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