Consumers reward GM-free production
The hidden GM in your trolley
Friesland Campina's GM-free Landliebe milk is showing profits
TraceConsult, 22 June 2009
Comment by TraceConsult: A bundle of consistent efforts over a time span of three years is now paying off nicely for the German arm of Europe's largest dairy group FrieslandCampina. Refraining entirely from the use of imported protein carriers such as soy meal in its feedstuffs, the company has opted for an unusual approach.
But competitors who do continue to use certified GM-free and sustainable soy meal from Brazil and India report similar successes on a smaller scale.
Perhaps the time has come so that the notorious pessimists among dairy and other manufacturers stop their heckling from the sidelines and let everyone commit to their business of choice - GM-free or undeclared. The article below shows clearly that concerns of "unfair" competition are baseless. But private consumers at last get to exercise their basic right of an educated choice.
Consumers reward "GM-free" production
LebensmittelZeitung Online (Subscription only):
18 June 2009
Dairy group FrieslandCampina (FC) insists on its goal that in the long run all products of the Landliebe brand are to carry the "ohne Gentechnik" (GM-free) logo. Already, the brand is benefitting from its fresh milk product.
The latest issue of the so-called "GM-free Shopping Consultant" by Greenpeace has focused the attention again primarily on dairy products.
While a large part of the dairy industry is being criticized by the environmentalists for biotech in the feeding trough - above all the Theo Müller group of companies - FrieslandCampina's Landliebe meets a lot of approval. All the while, Greenpeace refers to Landliebe as an enterprise and ignores that by far not all milk from FC is produced GM-free.
Michael Feller, CEO of Campina Germany, is delighted by the Greenpeace praise, particularly because a lot of work went into the conversion of the production, he says.
It took Campina around three years to reach the current status. The program started in autumn 2008 with 150 million kg of milk. By now, the participating Landliebe farmers supply approximately 260 million kg of milk by cows reared conventionally.
About 100 million kg of that volume is currently marketed as UHT and fresh milk, the remainder is used for other Landliebe products.
It is the company's goal to produce all Landliebe milk without the use of GMOs. The long-term goal is to provide all Landliebe products with the "ohne Gentechnik" claim.
Until that point it is a long road, according to Feller, because all ingredients from suppliers will have to be GM-free as well. By introducing GM-free fresh milk last fall, Campina created a furor. Competitors and retailers viewed the kick-off critically. Retailer reactions varied, confirms Feller, but were mostly positive.
Supermarkets want innovations and differentiation in the product range. Concerns by some retailers that their private label range might be discriminated by the Landliebe claim were not confirmed.
Consumers reward the commitment. For instance, according to Feller, Landliebe milk sales increased during the first four months of 2009 amidst a generally receding market - around 10 percent for UHT milk and 3.9 percent for fresh milk.
Control remains in the product range
Landliebe is already sporting a "beautiful growth" at 6 percent. "Our activities, such as a new design, innovations and new packaging, show results", says Feller. The "ohne Gentechnik" claim of the milk helps, too.
On the other hand, the Optiwell brand is not quite as successful. It suffers, like the entire range of light products, from decreasing sales. The new introduction of Optiwell Control has not met expectations, but the product will remain in the range. "It is a profitable niche. We will foster and take care of the core products."