Upmarket UK retailer Waitrose today (26 August) claimed to be the first supermarket in the country set to stock “100% own-label British dairy”.

The move, set to go live next month, excludes Canadian Cheddar, Wexford Cheddar, Brittany Butter and crème fraîche, which will continue to be sold in Waitrose stores.

Waitrose claimed the initiative would provide a “significant boost” to the UK dairy industry but refused to be drawn on whether the weakness of sterling driving up import costs had been a factor in its decision.

“We’re proud to commit to British farmers,” a Waitrose spokesperson told just-food.

The retailer insisted it had provided long-lasting support to UK farmers, including a milk scheme set up in 1999.

“Through establishing the milk scheme, we have been able to secure the long-term supply of top quality milk for our customers and ensure reinvestment in each of our farmer’s businesses,” Waitrose dairy buyer Jane Hills said. 

“Producers are rewarded for achieving the high standards expected, which has given them confidence for the future. The investment made on our farms has been much higher than elsewhere in the industry and has helped maintain the sustainability of our dairy farmer’s businesses.”