Lidl has announced it will invest a record £15 billion in British suppliers over the next five years as it continues to expand in the UK.

The retailer said it wanted to support its suppliers to grow their own businesses and pledged to increase sales of British-sourced fresh produce, fresh meat and poultry by over 10 per cent over the next 12 months. In addition, it has committed to sourcing 100 per cent of its listed fresh poultry from UK farms.

Other initiatives from the supermarket in support of British suppliers include longer-term contracts to help give suppliers certainty and ayoung farmers programme designed to support new talent in the agricultural sector.

Ryan McDonnell, chief commercial officer at Lidl GB, said:“Our long-term partnerships with farmers are all the more important during economic uncertainty, and with 2019 marking our 25th anniversary, we are more committed than ever to supporting our suppliers here in Britain and offering customers British-sourced products in the future.”

Tom Hulme, of A.C. Hulme & Sons, which has been Lidl’s main supplier of apples and pears for over ten years, added:“We wouldn’t have even contemplated upgrading our packhouse if it wasn’t for our confidence in Lidl’s future custom. The company has stayed true to its word with its growing orders over the years, giving us certainty in an industry that faces many uncertainties – like the British weather!”

Lidl GB’s commitment builds on existing initiatives to support British food and farming businesses. In March 2017, the discounter also signed the NFU’s ‘Back British Farming Charter’, which followed follows its commitment to the ‘NFU’s Fruit and Pledge’, further cementing its commitment to the British farming industry.

Lidl currently has a market share of six per cent and is continuing with its ambitious expansion plans, which will see the supermarket open 50-60 new stores in 2019.

In June, the discounter announced a £500m investment in London over the next five years as it opens new stores across the capital.