A increase on milk prices at Milton IGA will directly benefit four local dairy farmers.
The store will sell its 2-litre Perfection milk for $2.19, up from just $1 a litre. The 19 cents per unit increase will go directly to local farmers, and will be matched by Milton IGA.
The move was backed by Stony Hill dairy farmer Robert Miller, who said the $1 a litre milk price “was not working”.
Co-owner Shane Wilson said the store would “love not to sell” the $1 a litre milk, but it is forced to in an effort to stay competitive with Coles and Woolworths.
Mr Wilson said the store had endured the last two price increase on milk to stay competitive.
“We have now made the decision not to match Coles and Woolworths, and the increase will go to our local farmers,” he said.
“The customer will pay 10 cents extra per litre, and we will match that per litre. So the farmers will get 40 cents for every two-litre bottle of Perfection milk we sell.
“There is no admin charge. Whatever we make we will be given to them in way of feed, or whatever they need.”
RELATED CONTENT: Coles ‘reluctant’ to budge on milk prices: Littleproud
Mr Wilson said he would “love” to see a price increase across the board in the future, but blamed Coles for not budging.
“I would love to see a price increase across the board, but the sticking point is Coles,” he said.
“They introduced it 10 years ago and are playing hard ball. Woolworths want to come on board, and I assume ALDI will follow. The three major chains dictate what happens in that market.”
RELATED CONTENT: Coles ‘concerned’ for farmers
At this stage, the Milton IGA price increase is locked in until the end of 2018, when it will be reviewed.
Mr Wilson said it could be 18 months before dairy farmers started to recover from the drought, and would like to see the increase continue beyond this year.
“The farmers are stoked,” he said.
“We have four local families who rely on this industry in our community.”
Having to import New Zealand milk was a real concern, Mr Wilson said.
“We are trying to come on board and help our farmers, so we don’t have to import milk in the future when all our farms close,” he said.
RELATED CONTENT: Milton dairy farmer wants a fair price for milk
Customers had so far responded positively to the increase, which began on Thursday, September 6.
“They have been great because they know it is going to stay in the local community,” Mr Wilson said.