A MOVE by fast food giant McDonald’s to sell packaged milk from outlets in Queensland has been cautiously welcomed by the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria.
Although there are no defined plans by south-west Victorian Maccas outlets to add milk to their menus, the UDV said it would be a bonus if the prices produced better returns for farmers than the controversial dollar-a-litre pricing by supermarkets.
The trial at 14 McDonald’s outlets on the Gold Coast sells milk at $1.75 a litre.
South-west farmers have been ramping up their protests in recent weeks, warning of an exodus if profit margins did not improve.
UDV state president Kerry Callow told The Standard yesterday extra sales outlets would be welcomed only if prices reflected a reasonable return for farmers.
“Having more outlets is good as long as our product is sold at a price that is sustainable,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the Warrnambool McDonald’s franchise said there were no plans to add packaged milk to the offering, but she would put the suggestion to company chiefs.
Independent grocery retailers slammed the move, saying it further eroded the market for convenience stores.
The UDV and Victorian Farmers’ Federation last week added their support to a grassroots protest campaign started last month by the new south-west based Farmer Power lobby group.
The three groups are devising a case to take to Canberra seeking urgent assistance.
“Our proposal is for government intervention through a cash injection,” Ms Callow said.
“Assistance is needed soon. It’s in no one’s interest to have farm foreclosures.”
Farmer meetings in the past few months have revealed many operators were close to going broke in the face of big debts and dwindling returns.
South-west delegates will attend another protest meeting in northern Victoria next week.