Sainsbury’s strengthens ties with farmers

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By  Published  October 31, 2006

Sainsbury's, the UK’s second biggest supermarket group, is planning to work directly with dairy farmers in a newly formed development group to strengthen links and improve transparency in its supply chain.

The Sainsbury Dairy Development Group (SDDG), which has the support of the UK’s National Farmers Union (NFU), will comprise some 450 dairy farmers from Robert Wiseman Dairies and Dairy Crest, who supply some 420 million litres of fresh milk to Sainsbury’s each year. Sainsbury’s will support the group’s members and help them achieve higher levels of profitability through the introduction of new production and efficiency projects. Sainsbury’s said it has already underpinned its commitment to the group by agreeing to a new 18 month contract for fresh liquid milk agreed with Robert Wiseman Dairies and Dairy Crest.

Michael Hodgson, Sainsbury’s category manager, dairy and cheese said: “The milk group producers who are members of the group will benefit from Sainsbury’s buying power and we will examine the feasibility of driving better costs for energy and utilities, finance, telephones, broadband and IT.

“We have also committed to recruiting a dairy development manager, who will work with the group to implement projects which drive innovation and efficiencies that all members can benefit from,” Hodgson added. “This is a key appointment, and the dairy development manager’s first task will be to work with the members to understand where they feel the focus of efficiency and innovation project work might be most beneficial. Early project suggestions include using Sainsbury’s buying power to help members buy the goods and services they require at a lower cost, and a project which looks at optimising nutrition, feed efficiency and herd health.”

The move follows recent calls from the NFU and the Milk Development Council for the supply chain to work more closely and effectively together and to focus on innovation, efficiency and better supply chains.”

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