German retailer, Lidl, has said that it will continue to be proactive in its engagement with and support of suppliers, adding that it is pleased with the positive outcome of a meeting with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) this week.

On Tuesday, February 2, Lidl senior management met with the president of the IFA, Tim Cullinan and chair of the IFA Poultry Committee, Nigel Sweetman to discuss the challenges facing the poultry sector currently.

The meeting came on the back of a recent 24-hour protest staged by poultry farmers at two branches of Lidl – one in Cavan and one in Monaghan – due to the inclusion of cut-price chicken in the supermarket’s promotional offers.

The IFA has stated that such promotions by Lidl, and other retailers, are “very damaging” and undermine the value of farmers’ produce.

But, in a statement, Lidl said it takes pride in working with “more than 400 of the best local Irish suppliers and are committed to having positive, lasting relationships with them”. It added that it has “clear and transparent contracts and agreements in place with all suppliers”.

“Many of Lidl’s suppliers have been working with the company since it first opened its doors back in 2000 and have grown with the retailer during this time.

“As we have done in the past, we will continue to proactively engage with and support suppliers in navigating extreme market conditions as and when they arise,” a company spokesperson said.

Explaining the context in which its promotional offers are run, Lidl said it provides weekly offers on various product ranges in order to “follow through on its commitment” to its customers that it is “the best value food retailer on the market”.

This is especially important in the “current climate of rising inflation and increased cost of living” the spokesperson added.

According to Lidl, in 2019, close to €570 million of its procurement spending in Ireland was stock/produce related and, in addition to this, the company said it has invested €1 million since 2017 promoting local businesses through the Kick Start initiative, Lidl’s supplier development programme.

Lidl will continue to fully bear the cost of its weekly promotional offers, the spokesperson said.

“These offers in no way impact the price paid to suppliers throughout the duration of the promotion.”