Milk: Rising costs show how dairy farmers have been left behind
The price we pay for a pint of milk has not kept pace with other everyday expenses over the last five decades.
The cost of this essential item – a weekly addition to most people’s shopping trollies – was just 7p in 1975 and reached 45p by 2015. That means it’s about six times as expensive as it was 40 years ago.
Yet a series of data cards shows that this increase lags far behind rises in pay and the cost of other items.
The average salary in 1975 was £1,809 and increased 14 times by 2015, to £25,608. That rise was more than double the pace of increases to the price of a pint of milk – which would have been almost £1 by now if it had gone up by the same amount.
To put the cost into further context, the Money Advice Service reckons the average household can save £69 on their broadband bills by switching when their contract ends. That amount would fund an entire year’s supply of milk for the average person – with some left over.
It’s a combination of this – and the plight of dairy farmers – that mean most British shoppers would happily pay more for the milk they buy in the shops.
One study from the NFU said 85% of people would be content if the cost of milk rose.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “Whenever the NFU has done a survey of consumers, we have found they are strongly behind British farmers and British produce… They are likely to source British produce by looking for products that carry the Red Tractor logo. We are picking up that consumers are very supportive of British farming… There is recognition that dairy farmers are struggling with falling prices.”
Since 2002 more than half of Britain’s dairy farmers have gone out of business, with rising costs and falling prices proving a deadly combination. As a result, there are now fewer than 10,000 of them for the first time.
While milk is six times more expensive than it was in 1975, beer has risen almost 20 times over the same time frame (from 15p to £2.96). A cinema ticket cost almost 12 times more in 2015 than it did in 1975, house prices shot up 18 times and an NHS prescription is now 41 times the price paid 40 years ago.
The editorial unit