Supermarket milk boycott means more for Maleny Dairies

Maleny Dairies milk sales are up 10%. Morgan Brown keeps an eye on production at the facolity.   Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Maleny Dairies milk sales are up 10%. Morgan Brown keeps an eye on production at the facolity. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily John McCutcheon

A MALENY Dairies truck had just left Coles at Maroochydore on Friday after making a delivery when owner Ross Hopper's phone rang.

The shop was already running out and needed more.

The consumer boycott of cheap supermarket milk in support of dairy farmers has boosted sales of the local milk.

Branded milks like Maleny Dairies are selling out while consumers shun plain brand "$1 a litre" milks in protest at a supermarket milk price war and poor prices paid by dairy giants Murray Goulburn and Fonterra to farmers.

Mr Hopper said demand for Maleny Dairies milk was up by about 10% and the pressure was on to bottle more milk for the business's retail customers.

"Some of the shops have doubled their orders and we're going flat out but we're keeping up with the orders," he said.

Unable to ask the hinterland's cows to work harder, Mr Hopper said he was working with Maleny Cheese to ensure the business has enough raw milk to keep up with the increasing demand.

"We work in with Maleny cheese. We've got extra milk," he said.

Mr Hopper said the consumer action, even if it weakened, was likely to convert to a permanent increase in business for Maleny Dairies and its suppliers.

"In the past, the spikes we've had have added an increase in our sales. There's always a bit of a spike and then it will level out but we definitely see a future in it."

Even local farmers who do not supply Maleny Dairies are happy for the consumer action to continue.

George Walker, of Conondale, who supplies Woolworths at what he considers a fair price for its premium Farmer's Own brand, said $1 a litre milk "devalues the product" and was not sustainable.

Elke Watson, of Conondale, whose farm supplies Norco, said consumer action was exactly what was needed to break the $1 a litre prices introduced by Coles.

"I'm very much of the view that $1 a litre milk has to stop. It takes money out of the whole supply chain," Mrs Watson said.

She said milk sales overall would not decrease while consumers boycotted the cheaper brands.

"People will continue to drink the same amount of milk. If they don't buy the Coles milk, they'll be buying the more expensive milk and the money will be going back to farmers."

Topics:  boycott maleny dairies milk price war milk war supermarket

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