The Bradford-based chain launched the brand in autumn and promised an extra 23p on every four-pint bottle would go to struggling farmers.
However, Morrisons has confirmed only a quarter of the 23p extra on the For Farmers range actually goes to British dairy farmers.
The money is sent to Arla and then re-distributed among the co-operative’s 12,700 farmers – about half of which are in Denmark and Sweden. 3,000 of its farmer-owners are British.
Since the announcement which was made amid the UK-wide summer dairy protests, farmers raised concerns about how much of the premium would go back to producers and claimed it was a ‘PR stunt’ by the supermarket.
The chain has received a barrage of criticism from farmers who said consumers had been ‘duped’ into thinking the extra money would benefit only UK producers.
It has led at least one farmer to complain about the promotion to the Advertising Standards Authority.
But some producers speaking to Farmers Guardian urged the industry to be cautious about such criticism.
Kendal dairy farmer James Robinson said he was ‘annoyed’ to see such a backlash against Morrisons, fearing it could cause the retailer to pull the plug on the range.
“People wished for a bit of co-operation from one of the major retailers, they get it, and they’re still not happy,” said Mr Robinson.
“That’s how co-operatives work – the money is shared among all the members.”
Mr Robinson said it was likely UK farmers had benefitted from similar promotions in Europe. Therefore it is only right members in other countries share the benefit of a UK promotion. Even if it makes a small difference, it’s still a positive move,” he added.
“Not only in monetary terms but it acts as a promotional tool, reminding the public and other retailers about the industry’s situation and how many farmers are going to need some extra help in the coming months.
“I can see Morrisons turning around and saying ‘forget it’. If farmers can’t back it then why should Morrisons?”
Morrisons said it had seen ‘overwhelming support’ for the new range, with shoppers often choosing the more expensive options.
Arthur Fearnall, Arla farmer owner and board of representative member, said: “We knew that consumers were keen to support the farming community but Milk for Farmers was the first time that a product campaign of this nature has been launched in such a significant way. It is promising to be an overwhelming success.
“We really appreciate what Morrisons and all our major retail customers are doing to help us champion the dairy industry and our farmer owners. This is just one of many examples across Europe where supermarkets are supporting dairy farmers and where all Arla farmers in the UK share equally in this growing pot of money.”