Food trends are like fashion trends; they hype us up and then leave us thinking, pfffffft… that was SO last year! While at the same time the eco-revolution is gaining rapid momentum, with large companies turning their attention to conserving the environment and saving energy. Admittedly a lot of this is ‘green-washing’ for the sake of a superior public image, but that’s not the point.
One trend that’s hopefully here to stay, is one of consumer awareness; knowing where one’s food comes from, how it was produced etc. and being able to make better informed decisions based upon this knowledge.
Most of us by now are fairly familiar with South Africa’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative which has really flourished in the last few years. It’s created a definite consciousness surrounding ethical, ecological fishing practices and in the true form of evolution, we now see this approach moving to land.
Fair Cape Dairies are pioneering South Africa’s dairy precinct by replacing its Cape Free Range milk with a sustainable “Eco-Fresh” brand. They are the first milk producers in the country to publish its carbon footprint on its label.
“As a company, we have taken an integrated approach to carbon management and we are striving for a greener and more environmentally-friendly approach to milk production“, says Louis Loubser, Marketing Director of the Fair Cape Group.
That’s not all- they were also the first in South Africa to launch a Cow Comfort Index (that’s not a joke by the way!). The criteria includes; lying at a specific time of the morning, being in a relaxed atmosphere and having a vet in daily attendance. Talk about star treatment!
Why is it any different?
On a more serious note- what is “Eco-Fresh” milk? And how is it different to any other milk on the shelves?
According to Fair Cape, Eco-Fresh milk is based on four pillars:
2. Eco-friendly farming practices
3. Animal welfare
4. Carbon footprint
With regards to pollution, Fair Cape minimise polluting the ground water which cows usually dirty when they walk through it, by pumping and separating the water through a very specific system which aerates it and keeps it hygienic.
In terms of farming practices, they compost all the collected dung and spread it out onto their lands, which means that the need for chemical fertilizer is lowered. The company states that , “Since 2008, Fair Cape has reduced the use of chemical fertiliser by over 20%”.
Would you buy the milk? Do you see it as a marketing and PR gimmick or something more virtuous?
The label, which was designed by Contrast Studio, is divided into sections with all the relevant ingredients and nutritional info, as well as a thermometer showing the carbon emissions per litre of milk, from Fair Cape to the retailer itself. Cool huh?
They sell the Eco-Fresh milk to retailers at a cost price of R16.15 for 2 Litres, R7.60 for 1 Litre and R4.70 for 500ml. The milk has only been available in supermarkets since January this year where you’re afforded a choice between full cream, low fat or fat-free.
How is this extra “option” going to affect your milk-buying habits? Do you think it’s important that we have “sustainably produced milk” ?
By Tessa Purdon