Asda and Arla Foods came together with dairy industry representatives on Friday (16th March) at Lee Valley Park Farms to celebrate the fifth anniversary of DairyLink, Asda’s dedicated farmer group.
Asda led the industry in setting up DairyLink, becoming the first major supermarket to establish a dedicated group of farmers, providing a sustainable supply chain to meet customer demand and ensure farmers received a fair price for their milk. Today, circa 250 DairyLink farms in the UK supply milk solely to Asda, through Arla Foods.
Sarah Baldwin, category director of core chilled at Asda, said: “A huge amount of work and effort has been put in over the last five years to make DairyLink what it is today, and a great deal has been achieved in a relatively short space of time.
“We always focus on what is good for our customers, and a sustainable supply chain is absolutely key. Through the work we have done, we have been able to offer competitive prices to our customers, while also increasing the price paid to our farmers.”
Asda led the industry again when it established ‘best practice’ working groups for its farmers, focussing on key areas of health and welfare, giving access to expert advice sessions and enabling knowledge transfer. These workshops have helped DairyLink farmers to reduce lameness, mastitis and carbon output to industry-leading levels.
To date, DairyLink farmers have invested around £60 million in capital expenditure on farm, helping to improve the health and welfare of animals and the environmental performance of the farm itself.
Chris Brown, head of ethical and sustainable sourcing at Asda, said: “All our work is based on engagement and is voluntary rather than prescriptive. It is also based on areas where the farmer sees a positive impact on farm performance, therefore building a high level of trust along the supply chain.”
Ash Amirahmadi, milk procurement director at Arla, said: “Asda considers cow health and welfare to be absolutely vital, and actively drives best practice amongst its farmers, increasing trust across the supply chain. Everyone involved in DairyLink is committed to this journey and we will continue to work collaboratively and proactively to achieve mutual benefit and growth.
“Over the last five years DairyLink has done a great job, and with a clear strategy in place, we are in a strong position to continue moving forward.”
Arla Foods UK plc is home to some of the UK’s leading dairy brands including Cravendale, Lurpak and Anchor. Processing approximately two billion litres of milk a year Arla continues to be one of the UK’s leading dairy companies and a supplier of fresh liquid milk and cream to the top seven retailers.
Over 2,500 daily deliveries are made directly to stores nationwide and Arla brands can be found across the dairy category. As well as the leader of the butter, spreads and margarine sector, and a major supplier of other added value products including flavoured milk and cheese, Arla continues to build working relationships with Arla Foods Milk Partnership, a unique group of dairy farmers, which supplies around 90 per cent of Arla's total milk requirements.
Behind this leading business is a team of circa 2,800 people across the UK located at our dairies, distribution centres and head office.