Independent retailers across the Isle of Wight are bolstering the local dairy industry by buying into a new milk brand which is produced, processed and packaged on the island.

The Isle of Wight Milk brand aims to ensure that island dairy farmers are paid a fairer price by cutting out unnecessary transport and costs.

About 80% of milk produced on the island is transported off, while mainland milk is brought on, a fact which has had a big impact on the island’s dairy farms, which now number just 18 compared with 300 in the 1960s.

More than 50 independent retailers stock the milk, with more signing up each week.

Nick Farnsworth of Farnsworth News said he jumped at the chance to sell the milk, which has become his biggest seller by volume. “We are a small community where there is a strong desire to reduce food miles and support local enterprise. Luckily, people are prepared to pay a premium to do that,” he said.

Phil Ponsonby, chief operating officer for food retail at the Southern Co-operative, which is also selling the milk, said the initiative would go a long way to support local businesses.