Discounter Lidl has committed to investing £15 billion in British suppliers over the next five years.
The record sum comes alongside a commitment to increase sales of British sourced fresh meat, poultry and fresh produce by more than 10 per cent over the next 12 months.
It follows Lidl’s pledge to source 100 per cent of its listed fresh poultry from UK farms.
Suppliers will also be supported through longer-term contracts to allow them to invest for the future, while young farmers and new entrants will be supported by a young farmers programme.
Young farmer Sam Bailey, 23, is benefiting from both initiatives and has been able to grow his business through the supermarket’s Grassroots Dairy Partnership, which was formed as part of Lidl’s long-term contract with Muller.
He is supplying 50 per cent of his milk to Lidl GB stores.
Fran Bell, another dairy farmer supplying Lidl through Muller, said: “Our farming business has committed to large capital investments to modernise and promote efficiencies in preparation to include our next generation within the business.
“The Lidl fixed-price scheme has given us certainty, within a volatile market, to lock in a percentage of our milk at a known price for two years.
“This will enable us to protect those investments while helping to secure a sustainable future for this business.”
Lidl GB chief commercial officer, Ryan McDonnell, added the retailer wanted suppliers ‘at the heart’ of its growth plans.
He said: “Our business is only ever as good as our suppliers’, so our investments and commitments are key to ensuring that they can invest and expand with us.
"We are more committed than ever to supporting our suppliers here in Britain and offering customers British-sourced products in the future.”