Discount food retailer Lidl GB has announced it plans to invest £4 billion into British food businesses this year in a bid to boost support for its suppliers across the UK.
In 2019, Lidl pledged to invest £15 billion in the UK food industry between 2020 and 2025, but the latest announcement means it will exceed an additional 2bn and hit nearly £17 billion. The retailer has invested £10 billion since March 2020.
Around 65% of its core products are sourced from over 650 suppliers across the UK, the supermarket says. Lidl sells several British products, including meat, poultry, dairy and eggs and holds the largest market share in volume of fresh British pork.
Ryan McDonnell, CEO at Lidl GB, said in a statement: “The farmers and producers that supply us, some of which have been with us for decades, are paramount to the success of our business.
“We see them as partners in our mission to provide households with high quality affordable produce, and for many, working with Lidl GB and being part of our growth has opened opportunities for their own expansion, both here in the UK and across the globe.”
Cheese in particular has been a popular British export for Lidl consumers outside of the UK, with Lidl GB’s suppliers sending over £50 million worth of British cheese to its stores in the rest of Europe.
One food business which could benefit further from the latest investment is Somerset-based cheddar cheese supplier Wyke Farms, which has a long-term contract with Lidl GB until 2028 worth £35 million a year. Wyke is currently exporting to 16 other Lidl markets, including Poland where consumers are the biggest fans of its Somerset Vintage Cheddar outside of Great Britain, according to the supermarket.
Martin Kottbauer, Chief Trading Officer at Lidl GB added: “Providing our suppliers with the security and certainty needed for them to invest and grow has been a big focus for us over the years.
“It’s why we’ve led the industry on the introduction of longer-term contracts, and it’s why our continued investment in the British food and farming industry remains an absolute priority for our business.”
Alongside Aldi, Lidl has been named as one of the fastest growing food retailers in the UK, as a result of an increase in new store openings and the growing appeal of cheaper goods for consumers looking to save amidst high levels of inflation.
Lidl currently has 950 stores across the country and is aiming to bring that number up to 1,100 by 2025.
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