Fairness for farmers, whatever the weather

We want to support British farmers over the long term. That’s why we pay dairy farmers a fair price for milk – and work to make the British lamb season as secure as it can be.

British farmers can face many headwinds in business – from changing prices to unpredictable weather.

When global milk prices fall below the cost of production, times can be particularly tough for dairy farmers. So we support the farmers in our Dairy Development Group – who supply our own-brand milk – by paying them a price that directly reflects their costs.

Customer marketing about paying a fair price for milk

Our fair pricing policy helps us show customers how we back British farmers. Here’s how we communicated it to customers.

This approach, known as the ‘cost of production’ model, acts as a safety net for farmers even when market prices are low. It means the 275 plus farmers in the group can pay for their feed, fuel and fertiliser, and invest in welfare and environmental standards – knowing they’ll still be able to make a profit on milk.

This means we can both invest with confidence in the future of this vital industry.

Backing British lamb

Sheep in a field in Newent, Gloucestershire

Lamb farmers face a different challenge. Changing weather means the British lamb season can vary from year to year – so farmers need the certainty of knowing what and when we plan to buy from them.

That’s why, in May 2016, we committed that we’d source 100% British lamb for the 2016/17 season by 1 July – despite a wet and cold spring. In the previous year, we extended the season to 1 January 2016, making it five weeks longer than the year before.

It’s our close relationships with farmers that makes such arrangements possible. Henry Dunn, a Gloucestershire sheep farmer who has worked with Sainsbury’s for more than 10 years, says: “I think Sainsbury’s really understand the impact the weather has had on us. This up-front commitment means we have confidence in the coming months.”

“This up-front commitment means we have confidence”

Henry Dunn
a Sainsbury’s sheep farmer from Newent, Gloucestershire

Lamb from our 400+ meat counters, meanwhile, is 100% British all year round – and so is lamb from our chilled Taste the Difference and organic ranges. So customers always have the option to buy British.