Blog: An eye-opening - and eye-watering - day on a French farm
Dean Best | 12 May 2010
As the UK woke up this morning on the first day of Nick n' Dave's leadership, just-food found itself just over the English Channel, on a farm in Normandy with French dairy co-op Isigny Sainte-Mère.
The dairy processor specialises in making cheese, butter and cream for the French and key European markets and has a growing business supplying milk powder for infant formula on sale in Asia.
After just a day studying the business, it seems much of Isigny's business, like the UK's new coalition government promises to be, is something of a balancing act.
Isigny's status as a co-op owned by farmers means it has a delicate strategy on milk prices. Farmers may want milk prices to be as healthy as possible but that obviously means pressure on raw-material costs for the co-op.
Deciding when to release cheese stocks, cheese like Camembert that can be aged for various lengths of time, takes deliberation. Selecting which export markets to target means hard choices over how to allocate finite resources.
As well as the farm visit, Isigny Sainte-Mere took us to its dairy sites, where we discussed issues ranging from recession, potential export growth - and the co-op's relationship with UK retailers in a climate when the French firm is battling pound/euro rate that makes exports from France across the Channel more expensive. More on that on just-food tomorrow.
This afternoon, we were also shown around Isigny Sainte-Mere's local site that houses the cellars for its Mimolette hard cheeses. The eye-watering aroma when entering the cellars, which house cheese that has matured for up two years, literally takes the breath away.
What price that, after the new UK coalition matures for two years, it will have made spending cuts that makes the country's eyes water?
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Analysis: Post discusses rationale for Weetabix
- Interview: "Disruptive" snack brand Hippeas
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Unilever buys US condiments maker Sir Kensington's
- Tyson shops Sara Lee bakery, Kettle and Van's
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill
- Dairy dampens Danone in Q1
- Nestle organic growth slows but beats expectations