Milk price increase by cheese producer aims to encourage other manufacturers and retailers to support their dedicated farmers and the remaining 50% of farmers struggling to supply the dairy trade
The Wensleydale Creamery, producers of the famous Real Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese, today announced it will increase the pence per litre (ppl) it pays its Wensleydale farmers for their milk*, in a bid to support them and the other 50% of struggling dairy farmers who supply to the non-liquid milk markets.
The Creamery will offer 28.5 ppl for milk, a 1.5 ppl rise, to help support their valued local farmers and kick-start a campaign to raise the price paid for dairy products in the cheese, yoghurt, dessert and butter markets by retailers.
Half of all UK milk is sold to manufacturers to be processed into other dairy products, the remaining 50% going on to be sold as liquid milk in cartons in supermarkets.
Following the high profile campaign by farmers’ union the NFU, the coalition and the announcement by Arla and Wiseman to raise prices in the liquid milk market last week, the Wensleydale Creamery hopes to raise awareness of the needs of those farmers producing milk for the non liquid market.
David Hartley, Managing Director of The Wensleydale Creamery, said: “We recognise the significant issues facing our dairy farmers today, including rising feed costs based on world commodity markets and the effects of an atrocious summer of weather here in the Yorkshire Dales and across the country as a whole. Much media attention has been focused in recent weeks on highlighting the increasing costs of producing milk and this has largely centered on liquid milk in a carton for the supermarket shelf.
“The liquid market accounts for only 50% of the total milk market in the UK. The other 50% is converted into cheese, yoghurt, desserts and butter. All too often, the farmers supplying these markets are forgotten, but their costs are rising too and they have a right to sustainable prices.
“We are therefore supporting our farmers by increasing the price we pay for their milk. If we neglect our duty here, these suppliers will either stop producing milk or will look to find more lucrative and sustainable contracts for their milk, such as the liquid market. Our business relies on a sustainable supply of fresh local milk and as such we have to pay a fair price for this and this will be reflected in the price of our cheese in the shops.
“We are proud of our heritage and see our family of dairy farmers as being integral to the production of our award winning cheeses. We felt it was vital to take this stand and support our farmers in leading the cheese market debate on how best to support sustainable milk production in the UK.
“For decades, our local farming families have ensured our Real Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese range is made wholly from milk locally sourced, by supplying us from within the Dales. As a result, they are a vital part of our real taste credentials and success as a business, which is why we give them recognition on our new brand packaging.
“We felt it was important to lead the cheese sector and make a stand on this issue. We are by no means a mass producer in the cheese market, but felt it was necessary to make this significant financial commitment. We feel passionately about supporting the farming community and believe consumers will support our decision. We will be lobbying our industry and retail partners to ensure the long term success and sustainability of milk production for both the cheese and liquid milk markets.”
Matthew Bell, Chairman of Wensleydale Milk Producer Group, added: “We welcome The Wensleydale Creamery’s decision to raise the price per litre for our milk and support their goal for sustainable production. I challenge other manufacturers in the cheese market to follow the Creamery’s lead and assist other farmers who are under pressure. I also encourage retailers to support this with a similar initiative to that seen for liquid milk producers, ensuring continued successful supply and production in the UK cheese and liquid milk markets.”
The Wensleydale Creamery recently rejuvenated its product appearance to reflect its history within the Yorkshire dairy industry. The new packaging depicts the iconic scenery of Wensleydale to celebrate the company’s long standing heritage in the region. Its Premium Range and ‘Dales Butter’ are two of many new planned products, aimed to further establish the Wensleydale Creamery as a leader in the dairy sector.