Popularity of meadow milk cheese is increasing

14 April 2016

The number of dairy products made from meadow milk is increasing. In particular more meadow milk cheese will be found in the shop shelves this year. Also more dairy farms let their cows graze in the meadows in the year 2015. This put an end to the decline of the number of dairy farms applying outdoor grazing, which started in the 1990s.

The number of FrieslandCampina dairy farms that grazed their cows in meadows increased by more than a hundred in 2015. 77.9 percent of the 12,618 dairy farms that are members of FrieslandCampina in the Netherlands applied a form of outdoor grazing in 2015. This was 77.2 percent in 2014. The objective is to have 81.2 percent of the dairy farms supplying milk to FrieslandCampina apply outdoor grazing in the year 2020. This was the level in 2012.

Stimulate outdoor grazing

FrieslandCampina, as well as other dairy companies in the Netherlands, pro-actively pursue a policy of further raising the number of dairy farms applying outdoor grazing. FrieslandCampina aims at a minimum of 400 dairy farms, the cows of which now still stay in the barns, letting their cows graze in the meadows again in the year 2020. One way FrieslandCampina plans to achieve this, among other things, is to approach dairy farms that stopped outdoor grazing in the past three years. These dairy farmers can make use of the national guidance programme for so-called ‘New grazers’.

Increasing amount of meadow milk cheese

Campina cheese, a series of Gouda cheeses made with meadow milk, ranging from young to extra matured in slices and wedges, was introduced in March 2016. Milner and the North Holland Gouda cheese with the red label are made from meadow milk as well. A number of supermarket chains will soon start buying FrieslandCampina meadow milk cheese for their private labels. The introductions of meadow milk cheese respond to the growing interest in dairy products made from meadow milk. Valess will also be made from meadow milk starting in April this year.

Cows are part of the Dutch landscape

Just like windmills, tulips and water, grazing cows have been part of the traditional Dutch landscape for many centuries. Both consumers and tourists love this scenery. FrieslandCampina stimulates member dairy farmers to let their cows and young cattle graze in the pasture again. Dairy farmers who allow their dairy cows to graze in the pasture at least 120 days per year for a minimum of six hours per day, are entitled to an outdoor grazing allowance of gross 1.00 euro per 100 kg milk. Additionally, FrieslandCampina rewards partly grazing outdoor with 0.46 euro per 100 kg milk.

Meadow milk products since 2007

FrieslandCampina launched its first meadow milk products into the market in 2007. The meadow milk is collected and processed separately. The products can be recognised by the meadow milk logo of Stichting Weidegang on the packaging. Initially, this mainly involved dairy products including milk, buttermilk and yoghurt, but brands such as Milner, Optimel and Vifit followed later. The first supermarkets started to add meadow milk dairy products to their private label product ranges in 2011. FrieslandCampina sells the meadow milk dairy products at an additional charge in order to be able to cover the costs for the payment of the outdoor grazing premium to the dairy farmers and the additional production costs.