Daily Liberal: Consumers support farmers: Premium brand milk is 'walking out the door'

Premium brand milk from Dubbo is "walking out the door" this week as consumers offer their support to embattled Aussie dairy farmers.

Dubbo-based family-owned Little Big Dairy Company reports increased demand for its products, with the outlets it supplies asking to increase their orders.

It comes after Australia's two biggest dairy companies retrospectively slashed farmgate milk prices in Victoria, fanning fears that many dairy farmers in the state will go broke.

In response many consumers are rallying to the producers' cause by choosing premium brand milk rather than heavily discounted supermarket options of two litres for $2.

Photos of empty premium milk shelves at supermarkets have been posted on social media across the country.

The Chesworth family launched the Little Big Dairy Company operation in 2013, offering a product they see through from start to finish, from milking to processing and into the bottle.

Director Emma Elliott, daughter of Steve and Erika Chesworth, said recent weeks were a timely reminder of the importance of shopping locally, because it supported "our entire community".

"It's really heartbreaking that it took such a tragic event with Victorian farmers to give farmers a voice, a platform to tell consumers it's in their hands," she said.

"They have the power to tell the supermarkets they want high-quality milk."

Bathurst Bernardi's IGA manager Geoff Bottom said on Monday he ordered 60 per cent more milk from the Little Big Dairy Company compared with his usual order.

It was not the only call for more product to the Chesworth family business, which supplies more than "100 outlets from Warren to the foot of the Blue Mountains".

"(Outlets are saying) their shelves are empty, can they increase their order," Mrs Elliott said.

"It's walking out the door."

The consumer action has the dairy farmer looking to the future.

"I really hope this is a turning point for our industry, where our farmers are paid a fair and sustainable price for their milk, moving forward to ensure the next generation of dairy farmers has a future in the industry to ensure Australia can continue the luxury of having fresh local milk available to them," Mrs Elliott said.

Woolworths said it was stocking proprietary milk brands the same way this week as it had done in previous weeks.

"We always aim to have our shelves stocked with the products our customers want to buy," a spokesperson said.

" Woolworths has always maintained a significant range of milk brands reflecting our customers' desire for choice and will continue to do so."

A spokesperson for Coles said Coles Brand milk was 100 per cent Australian and was produced by Australian dairy farmers.

"Our goal is to provide our customers with choice at prices they can trust," the spokesperson said.

"That's why we sell a number of brands of milk across Australia."

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