What is the reason for Fair Milk?

Milk is a valuable foodstuff that many people consume every day as it is or also in the form of cheese, yogurt and chocolate. Producing milk involves a lot of work.

Yet the payment dairy farmers receive for their milk has steadily fallen since 2001. At the same time, production costs (i.e. fodder costs, rent) have risen dramatically. Tens of thousands of farmers have stopped dairy farming - with dire consequences for many regions in Europe.

To counteract this trend, dairy farmer prices must cover costs. It is with this aim that dairy farmers in many countries across Europe have joined forces in the European Milk Board.



Fair Milk Europe presented at the Green Week in Berlin

The European Fair Milk family will be introduced together for the first time to the general public at the International Green Week in Berlin from 20 to 29 January. The Fair Milk initiatives of EMB countries Austria, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will be sharing a stand at the Agricultural Fair in hall 24, where information will be given out on Fair Milk and people can also try the different products. Besides drinking milk from Germany, Austria and Luxembourg there will also be chocolate milk from Belgium and the Fair-Trade chocolate milk from the Netherlands to sample.

What is Fair Milk?

What all the Fair Milk initiatives have in common is the fair farm-gate price, which is about 10 cents more per kilo of milk. This price covers the costs of production, enabling the farmers to run their farms on a sustainable basis. For only with a fair price policy can family-run farms stay in the market, produce high-quality milk and help conserve cultural landscapes.

It all started in Austria

Austria’s IG-Milch was the first in Europe to introduce its own brand “A faire Milch” in June 2007. Since then it has been marketed successfully as “fresh for longer” drinking milk and since 2010 also processed as “fair yoghurt”.

In the following years the Austrian concept was adopted by the European Milk Board (EMB) and extended to four more countries in conjunction with the national member organisations. The likeable advertising cow Faironika is also now to be seen in the national colours of many EU countries.

In January 2010 the German Dairy Farmers’ Association launched the “Die faire Milch” brand. It is marketed with 1.8% and 3.8% fat as long-lasting drinking milk.

Luxembourg has had Fair Milk (“D’fair Mëllech”) as UHT milk with 3.5% fat since February 2011. In Belgium it has been on sale since May 2010 under the “Fairebel” label as 1.5% long-lasting drinking milk and as chocolate milk. In addition the “Faire Eis” ice-cream has been available in four delicious flavours as a regional pilot project in Belgium since 2011.

The latest member of the Fair Milk family is the Netherlands, where the Dutch Dairy Farmers’ Association (NMV) has been marketing a Fairtrade chocolate milk since last November. It stands not only for a fair milk price but also for fair trade with developing nations.

Fairness and sustainability

So, fair prices and sustainable, preferably regional production are the basis of the European Fair Milk initiatives. Some countries even go beyond this promise, guaranteeing the consumer GMO-free feed, a commitment to an environmental protection project (Germany), or grazing of the cows and fair trade (the Netherlands).

And everyone turning up at hall 24 during the Green Week will see for themselves that there is no doubt that the European Fair Milk has one thing above all: an incomparable natural taste!