Lidl GB, which this year celebrates its 25th Anniversary, has announced that it will be investing a record £15 billion in British suppliers over the next five years.
The investment comes as the discounter’s pace of growth continues, and will provide its suppliers with the support and ability needed to invest in and grow their own businesses.
Following its commitment to source 100% of its listed fresh poultry from UK farms, Lidl has also pledged to increase sales of British sourced fresh meat, poultry and fresh produce by over 10% across the next 12 months.
Additional initiatives from the supermarket in support of its suppliers include:
• Longer-term contracts that will help give suppliers certainty and allow them to invest for the future helping them to create new jobs and develop their business.
• A young farmers programme designed to support new talent in the farming industry.
One farmer benefitting from both initiatives is Sam Bailey, who was recently named Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year. Sam is part of the supermarket’s Grassroots Dairy Partnership which was formed as part of Lidl’s long term contract with Müller. At just 23 years old, Sam is supplying 50% of his milk to Lidl GB stores, and the long term stability that his contract provides, is helping him to grow his business.
“As our business continues to grow, it’s vital that our suppliers remain at the heart of our growth plans, and that is why we are committing to investing at least £15 billion over the next five years. Our business is only ever as good as our suppliers’, so our investments and commitments are key to ensuring that they can invest and expand with us," said Ryan McDonnell, Chief Commercial Officer at Lidl GB.
“Our long-term partnerships with farmers are all the more important during economic uncertainty, and with 2019 marking our 25th Anniversary, we are more committed than ever to supporting our suppliers here in Britain and offering customers British-sourced products in the future.”
Tom Hulme, of family-run A.C. Hulme & Sons, has been Lidl’s main supplier of apples and pears for over ten years. “We wouldn’t have even contemplated upgrading our pack house if it wasn’t for our confidence in Lidl’s future custom," said Hulme. "The company has stayed true to its word with its growing orders over the years, giving us certainty in an industry that faces many uncertainties – like the British weather!”
Fran Bell, is a dairy farmer suppling Lidl through Müller. “Our farming business had committed to large capital investments, to modernise and promote efficiencies in preparation to include our next generation within the business," said Bell.
"The Lidl fixed-price scheme has given us certainty, within a volatile market, to lock in a percentage of our milk at a known price for two years. This will enable us to protect those investments whilst helping to secure a sustainable future for this business.”
Lidl GB’s commitment builds on existing initiatives to support British food and farming businesses. In March 2017, the discounter also signed the NFU’s ‘Back British Farming Charter’, which followed follows its commitment to the ‘NFU’s Fruit and Pledge’, further cementing its commitment to the British farming industry.
Lidl currently has a market share of 6% and is continuing with its ambitious expansion plans, which will see the supermarket open 50-60 new stores across 2019. In June, the discounter announced a £500m investment in London over the next five years as it opens new stores across the capital.