Labelling to differentiate milk products in UK

UK retailer Tesco has launched a consumer awareness campaign for milk sold in its stores.

According to Dairy Reporter, the retailer will use a new ‘Fair for Farmers Guarantee’ label to inform customers that its fresh standard milk is sourced only from British farmers, producer compensation is fair, and treatment of cows complies with welfare standards.

Dr Koos Coetzee, chief economist at the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO), told Farmer’s Weekly that it was increasingly important for the milk industry to differentiate its products. The MPO had recently developed a ‘Proudly South African’ dairy mark to help consumers identify locally procured milk.

“We hope that it can be used on product packaging in the future because we’re concerned about imported products that are packaged [under SA brand names],” Coetzee said.

According to Tesco, milk suppliers would be paid a standard price above the cost of production, even if the consumer price dropped.

Dairy farmers who received Tesco’s guarantee would also have to adhere to the country’s Red Tractor assurance scheme and additional Tesco welfare standards. Red Tractor is the UK’s largest farm and food standards scheme for animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection.

Coetzee said that South Africa had successful examples of cooperation between farmers and retailers, such as Ayrshire milk supplied to Woolworths.

“As they produce a niche product, Ayrshire producers get a higher price than other farmers,” he said.