The cleaver “branding” of product by it’s processors does not make it a “better” product. Branding is becoming common practice within the marketplace. Placing a label/brand on a product to play into the wants or more often than not, the fears, of consumers. This has become a common trend that creates further challenges for dairy.
This is a very informative article that I came across in the August 09 issue of Western Dairy Business magazine. It was written by Dave Natzke.
” Publicity surrounding Dean Foods’ launch of a new, mid-priced product category – “natural” dairy – as an alternative to “organic” has created a stir. Based on news accounts, the selected products will be “naturally produced without added growth hormones, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup.” According to published summaries of a study by the Shelton Group, consumers are confused about what’s “green,” and don’t know who to trust. More people (31%) trusted labels stating the product was “100% natural” over labels stating the product was “100% organic,” at 14%. The organic industry is up in arms, because the “natural” (organic lite) category will undoubtedly eat into organic markets as confused consumers – told that “conventional” dairy is bad for them by the organic industry – “try to do the right thing” while managing food budgets in a down economy. And, companies going the “organic lite” route gain an economic advantage by purchasing milk produced from cows not supplemented with recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) or under the strictest organic standards – at a price close to, if not the same as conventional milk, while gaining the “organic lite/rbST-free” market premium.
How much is that premium?According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s quarterly Marketbasket Survey, shoppers in 33 states reported paying the following average prices for milk in half-gallon containers in the second quarter of 2009:
• regular: $1.92, down 24¢ from the prior quarter and down 20% compared to the same quarter a year earlier.
•“rbST-free”: $3.18, down 1¢ from the prior quarter and about 5% less than the second quarter of 2008 (65% more than regular milk).
• organic: $3.63, down 8¢ compared to the first quarter, but 1% more than the second quarter of 2008 (90% more than regular).
According to my analysis on the back of a recycled envelope, one half-gallon of milk = about 4.3 lbs. = 23.25 half-gallons per cwt. At second-quarter 2009 retail prices (one-half gallon), regular milk generated $44.64/cwt. The gross income on “rbST-free” milk ($3.18/half-gallon X 23.25) = $73.94/cwt.
DairyBusiness Communications was at the forefront when the whole “rbST-free” labeling debate escalated a couple of years ago, accurately warning dairy producers could lose an approved technology, while gaining none of the economic benefits of “organic lite” premiums. For everybody who jumped on the bandwagon supporting “rbST-free” labels as being about the “consumer’s right to know” and “free speech,” get out your calculator. The retail markup on “rbST-free” milk = $1.26/half-gallon X 23.25 half-gallons/cwt. = $29.30/cwt., of which dairy producers get little, if any. “Free” speech indeed.”
So buyer beware! Milk is Milk! No matter what the label says on the outside of the product, be assured that the inside composition is the same.
None of us should be “feared” into purchasing something at a higher price. You should be informed and make your decision based on truth, not creative profiteers!
Organic and conventional farming are different in rules and certification. We both have standards of safety for consumers and animal welfare. The milk we produce is tested and retested to provide a safe and healthy product.
Whatever you choose to purchase you can be assured that it was produced by a hardworking dairy family that gladly follows the health and safety guidelines set before them. ENJOY!