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Aldi, Coles The Latest To Axe $1 Milk To Help Struggling Farmers

More supermarkets have moved into line with Woolworths, and will no longer sell milk for $1 per litre in efforts to help struggling dairy farmers. 

After mounting pressure from politicians and the dairy industry, supermarket giant Coles on Tuesday night announced it will increase the price of two-litre and three-litre milk bottles by 10 cents per litre -- with the increase to go to farmers.

The same announcement came from Aldi soon after.

READ MORE: 'Just 10 Cents': Farmers Storm Coles Over $1 Milk Protest 

From Wednesday, two-litre bottles of Coles Brand milk will now cost $2.20, while three-litre variaties will be $3.30.

The new pricing will be rolled out across all Coles stores in the coming days, as an "interim measure".

“Coles sources 100 percent of our Coles Brand fresh milk from Australian farmers, many of whom are struggling as the impact of drought compounds ongoing challenges in the dairy industry,” Coles Group Chief Executive Officer Steven Cain said on Tuesday.

Cain said while the supermarket giant supports proposals to make the dairy industry more sustainable, it knows many dairy farmers cannot wait for structural reform, and said the price change would be a more immediate help.

Oliver Bongardt, managing director of Buying for Aldi Australia, said the decision to increase the price of two-litre and three-litre bottles by 20 cents and 30 cents respectively was reached "in recognition of the significant issues currently impacting the dairy industry".

Bongardt noted broader government-led policy reform is "unlikely to occur in the short-term".

"This solution is a short-term measure and will allow our processors to immediately pass additional funds to their dairy farmers outside of normal seasonal adjustments," he said.

The announcement from Coles follows a campaign from dairy farmers in Queensland, who staged protests outside stores. 

Farmers say even a 10c increase to the price of milk could be the difference between staying and walking away from their dairy. Image: 10 News First

NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair welcomed the move as an "important first step".

"When Woolworths was the first to increase prices from $1 a litre, I called on Coles and Aldi to follow suit and was disappointed with their response and resistance," he said.

Blair said he met directly with all the major supermarkets in recent weeks, taking the "unprecedented step" of writing to Coles directors and top shareholders urging them to act.

READ MORE: Woolworths Axes $1 Milk In Effort To Help Farmers 

But the issues facing the dairy industry aren't over.

Last week, Blair made an election pledge for a 'dairy advocate' on the campaign trail that will be backed by a business unit and marketing campaign to encourage consumer support for NSW milk.

It followed a similar election promise made by the opposition.

Contact the author ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au

Featured image: AAP