Morrisons new ‘Milk for Farmers’ brand is PR gold


So you may have heard the news that Morrisons is creating a new brand of milk – ‘Morrisons milk for farmers’ – with the premiums of the extra 10p per litre cost going to the producers themselves. This comes as farmers have stepped up their campaign against the supermarkets in a bid for fair prices for their milk.

It has been reported that it now costs farmers more to product the milk than it does to sell it. And while many may scoff about farmers being wealthy landowners, the case studies you see on the news tell otherwise.

Many farmers have reported that they are looking for alternatives to the trade that has been in their family for generations, and the current supermarket squeeze is unsustainable.

The much maligned supermarkets on the other hand, argue that international forces are driving the prices down, and they are just responding to market trends.

Whatever the truth, and whatever side you support, like TfL and the tube strikes, the story is rumbling on. Except the farmers are creating more innovative ways of making their point, such as having cows walking the aisles of Tesco and Asda. But unlike the TfL story, where most disgruntled Londoners are feeling the pain of alternative transport, and tube strikers are getting the media backlash (their salaries have been compared to that of junior doctors in most papers), public support mainly lies with the farmers on this one. Not least because the human interest story of family legacies bring broken due to unsustainable living is played out over again in the media.

It does seem to be farmers that are winning the PR battle. However, with Morrisons pledging to support farmers with its new brand of fair living milk, they have added a new story to the saga – Goliath is supporting David.

Though Morrisons may take a hit in profit with their new brand of milk, it’s likely to reap dividends in overall reputation management. Firstly, Morrisons are standing out from the other supermarkets, showing that it IS possible to pay farmers a better price for their milk.

As they were the first to do this, they get all the PR coverage, with BBC and national press reporting on their stance.  The added value of their move is that any other supermarket that follows suit will be seen as a bandwagon-jumping copycat. Also, the members of the public that do sympathise with the farmers, and there will be many, will support the higher priced milk in a bid to help keep the traditional milk farms alive.  This will bring yet more customers to Morrisons.

And worst case scenario, the public don’t buy the milk?  Well, Morrisons will still be applauded for trying to help farmers, and the point will be proved that market demand for cheaper produce outweighs the farmers need for a fairer price.

So for Morrisons, it’s a shrewd PR move that’s a win win.

Halima Khatun

Halima Khatun

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