Supporting the British Dairy Sector


We are dedicated to sourcing from British suppliers and investing in British agriculture. To us this means ensuring we buy British produce wherever we can, working in partnership with our suppliers and aligning on CSR objectives.

In partnership with our key dairy supplier, we have taken a unique approach to provide stability to farmers. For three years, we’ve given dairy farmers, the opportunity to fix up to 50% of their milk supply at a base price of 28 pence per litre thereby substantially reducing their exposure to market volatility.

By working with our key dairy supplier and the wider dairy sector, we monitor a variety of sustainability topics with ambitious targets, from improving farm animal welfare, reducing carbon emissions, to sourcing sustainable raw materials.

We source our milk, butter and cream from over 600 farms throughout Great Britain. To learn more about where we source other products and ingredients, please see our Transparency page.

Grassroots Dairy Partnership

Grassroots Partnership

As part of our approach to supporting British dairy farmers, we have launched the Grassroots Dairy Partnership. This partnership is built on multiple commitments working towards a sustainable dairy sector, including:

  • Long-term, sustainable, commercial agreements
  • Transparent sourcing, knowing our farms
  • Developing and investing in the young farmers of tomorrow
  • Continual improvement of animal welfare, beyond national standards
  • On-going carbon reduction and supporting biodiversity
  • Reducing plastic across our dairy range
  • Sourcing from and supporting all our British farmers

The following information will provide further detail of some key areas and recent activities from the Grassroots Dairy Partnership.

Supporting the Next Generation

Next Generation

A vital part of our Grassroots Dairy Partnership is the support and training of the next generation of young dairy farmers.

The current average age of a farmer in the UK is 55 and we therefore have a responsibility to support the future of the industry. Currently there are over 30 young farmers included in our Ambassador program which offers training and mentoring, from technical agricultural skills and business insights, to tours of our stores and Q&As with our buyers, as well as personal development sessions on transferable skills such as leadership and communication.

We are able to meet the young farmers through annual open days at our regional distribution centres, to show the next steps of the milk that these farmers supply. Through these open days, we also see the importance in sharing details of our internal buying processes and having honest discussions about challenges in the sector and ideas for industry development and sustainability.


 “Very enjoyable trip, gained a lot from Lidl’s ambition and clear objective to work with farmers” – James Meddins

 “Fascinated with how passionate the Lidl team were. Great pride in their work and the business direction.” – Jennifer Picken

“Lidl’s enthusiasm for moving the relationship forwards, and having more farmer involvement was heartening. Paints a more encouraging future” – Rob Yarwood

Young Farmer

Young Farmer Case Study: James Pemberton

Meet James Pemberton, a Next Generation Lidl Ambassador.

Thanks to Lidl's fixed-price programme, James is able to forecast milk sales for the average year and has the confidence and security to invest in his farming business where it may otherwise not have been possible.

James and his brother are the third generation to join the family business, which was established by his grandfather in the 1960s. After studying business and working as part of the food sector, James decided to return to his family farm full-time in 2017, where he has been able to put his experience and training into practice.

Interested in making progressive developments on farm, James has recently added remote cameras to all barns, helping him keep a close eye on the health and happiness of his cows at any moment.  James is also keen to advance the environmental aspects of his farm, planting trees and hedgerows to help improve biodiversity and protect water courses.

As part of the Next Generation Ambassador Program James has seen the benefits of collaboration and transparency working closely with other young farmers throughout the country. James has been able to learn from other like-minded individuals, sharing successes and challenges.

We look forward to continually growing our partnership with James, alongside all the Next Generation Lidl Ambassadors, throughout the years to come.   

Sustainable Agriculture

Reducing soya usage on farm

Reducing Soya Usage on Farm

The majority of soy that is brought into the EU is typically used as animal feed and so therefore contributes to the production of meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. Soy predominantly originates from South America where there are multiple sustainability challenges associated with its production, including deforestation and human rights.

We are working with our suppliers and the wider industry to tackle these systemic issues, while also being mindful that we can reduce our soy footprint by encouraging suppliers to use alternative forms of animal feed.

To support our understanding of the actions of individual farms in our supply chain, we monitor the number of dairy farms that actively use alternative forms of animal feed to soya. In 2019, 39.4% of the farms (increase of 13.5% YOY) were looking to actively reduce the amount of soya fed on farm. While 24.1% of farms are already replacing soya with alternatives. We will continually monitor this progress and consider other means to support alternatives to soya as animal feed.

To learn more about the challenges and what Lidl is doing to ensure a resilient supply of sustainable soy for the long-term, please visit our dedicated Soy page.

Animal Welfare & Antibiotic Use

As part of our commitment to continually improving animal welfare we are developing our data collection processes and transparent reporting from the farms that supply us. This forms part of our long-term supply agreements with strategic suppliers.

We measure various Key Welfare Indicators (KWIs) in our dairy supply chain to monitor improvements of farm animal welfare. For example, where antibiotics are used to safeguard the health and well-being of livestock, we are taking measures to ensure responsible use by collecting data from farmers and engaging with them through on-farm training practices. Through this training, and data collection, we have seen farmers reduce overall cases of diseases such as mastitis, as well as lowering the repeat cases to below the national average.

To learn more about our approach to responsible use of antibiotics across industry sectors, please visit our dedicated page on Antibiotics.

See further KWIs that we measure in the table below:


Key Welfare Indicator


2019 Measurement


Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials, or HP-CIAs, (as defined by the European Medical Agency) are used in preventative treatments for human and animal health. Lidl recognises that antibiotics are an essential part of maintaining animals’ health and welfare. Farmers within our supply chain are taught how to use these medicines responsibly and sparingly with the guidance of as little as possible, as much as necessary. Further details can be found in our Antibiotic Stewardship Policy.

Supplying farmers have reduced the year on year use of HP-CIAs by 71%, with 40% of supplying farms reporting no use of HP-CIAs.


Mastitis is a condition that effects the cow’s udder. Through experience and training, farmers have learnt preventative measures and if this condition occurs, how best to treat it.  This can be done with the responsible use of antibiotics or alternative strategies like anti-inflammatory use to ensure the cow’s health and welfare remain a top priority. 

Supplying farmers, on average, have 14% less occurrences of mastitis on their farms against the national average.

Mobility Scoring

This is an indicator of the cow’s foot health and ties closely into the five freedoms in our animal welfare policy. Through early identification, a farmer can prevent any issues and provide the appropriate care to help a cow display natural behaviour, ensuring easy access to her feed and water, which is an essential aspect for that cow to live a free and happy life.

60% of supplying farms are proactively mobility scoring on a monthly basis.

Calving Interval

This is another indicator farmers use to understand the cow’s health status, from how often they give birth to a healthy calf. Monitoring this number allows them to better understand how well the cow’s environment and diet meets its needs and ties closely into the cow’s health, welfare and fertility.

Supplying farmers, on average, are performing 5 days better than the national average on calving interval.