Muller and Lidl UK form partnership for sustainably-sourced milk

UK – The dairy group, Müller Milk & Ingredients and the UK leading supermarket, Lidl have announced a new dairy sourcing partnership, Grassroots Dairy Partnership to ensure a sustainable supply chain from ‘grassroots through to the consumer’.

The partnership will work to ensure end-to-end dairy supply chain, covering the dairy farmers, critical players in the sector to the final consumer of the milk and dairy products.

Lidl will launch an ambassador training programme which will offer bespoke training to young dairy farmers as part of the programme.

This includes workshops on how to achieve lean and effective processes, and the opportunity to engage with Lidl’s senior management teams to enhance their knowledge of the retail industry.

“The other initiatives we will now work on together will be focused on tackling additional challenges including greater use of recycled plastics, reducing food waste and water use, and further strengthening dairy farming businesses,” said Rob Hutchison, milk supply director at Müller Milk & Ingredients.

“Müller now has the most comprehensive, well-invested network of dairies in the UK and we aim to work in partnership with key customers like Lidl so that they can offer consumers a distinctive fresh milk proposition.”

Farmer-Customer focus

The deal follows a three-year milk supply contract between Lidl and Muller with plans to introduce a fixed price element to its milk for dairy farmers in the UK.

Among the goals of the development included enabling farmers to substantially reduce their exposure to market volatility defined by low farm gate milk prices in the past few years.

Lidl indicated that the fixed-term price deal covers all of the elements necessary in building and securing a sustainable dairy sector, including transparent sourcing, animal welfare, and protection of the environment.

“Following our announcement last year, we’re excited to be launching this partnership and working with Müller to help secure a supply chain that will safeguard the long-term viability of dairy farming in the UK,” said Lidl UK’s commercial director Ryan McDonnell.

“As a business, we are committed to supporting sustainable growth in the British dairy farming sector, and through our new ambassador programme, we look forward to cultivating the relationships we have with young farmers across the country.”

Securing dairy farmers

The new partnership is an accompaniment to Muller’s dairy business development scheme launched last year.

The Müller Direct Next Generation program aims to help the next generation of dairy farmers to establish their own businesses in the UK.

“We are delighted to further build our long-term strategic partnership with Lidl, working together to deliver benefits for the whole supply chain, from consumer to farmer.

“The ‘Müller Direct Fixed Price Contract’, introduced in 2018 with support from Lidl, is already providing dairy farmers with real security and confidence for the future,” added Rob Hutchison.

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