Initiatives to make milk more accessible announced today

Fonterra will announce initiatives today to help make milk "more accessible" to New Zealanders.

The price of milk has been a hot topic this year, with criticism that it was becoming unaffordable for many families.

The Waikato Times reported sources as saying the initiative would target young school children by offering free milk.

The dairy co-operative's chief executive, Theo Spierings, will make the announcement in Auckland this morning.

A Consumer NZ-commissioned survey this year of 1000 people found 91% thought they were paying a high price for milk compared with other supermarket staples.

Fonterra partnered with Sanitarium in 2009 to provide free school breakfasts, and nearly half of decile one to four schools served meals to students up to twice a week in that programme.

Under a scheme that ran from 1937 to 1967 half a pint of milk was given to all schoolchildren every day, after the Government decided to improve health and help use excess milk during the war.

In August, Parliament's commerce committee started an inquiry into the price of milk.

It asked whether people were paying too much and if the market was operating effectively.

Submissions closed in September and it will be up to the new committee to decide whether to continue the inquiry.

In September, Mr Spierings said the dairy giant would take a fresh look at retail milk prices because of a perception they were too high.

Europe-based Arla Foods is the latest dairy company to offer product for sale on Fonterra's online trading platform GlobalDairyTrade.

Arla, which will offer skim milk powder from April 3, will become the fourth seller to formally join the platform alongside Fonterra, DairyAmerica and Murray Goulburn.

Additional reporting. - The New Zealand Herald


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