Candia's Grandlait Initiative

The dairy sector across Europe, for example, has experienced change following the development in the organic standards. Organic dairy products have been particularly successfully marketed as the industrialization of conventional dairy production has attracted concern. In France, the cooperative Candia part of the major agro-industrial group Sodiaal, initiated the brand Grandlait milk in 2002, which makes specific claims with respect to animal welfare that go significantly beyond the basic legislative and regulatory imperatives, as well as the more common good practice codes operated by the industry. The milk supplied for Grandlait is kept separately from the collection of other milk.

Farmers supplying into Grandlait supply network have to be fully integrated into the quality control requirements and to be classified as 2, 3, or 4 farms according the Agroconfiance certification body. Self-assessment is an important aspect of the assurance process. The initiative is distinctive in France because it brings together dairy farmers that lie outside of the more well-known dairy regions of France. As a result, this lack of concentrated sourcing made it easier to introduce specific animal welfare elements into the production process as a distinct component of product differentiation. The cooperative takes full responsibility and does not engage with supermarkets. It prefers not to confuse the image of the dairy farmers so as to strengthen their negotiating position over prices. The philosophy behind Grandlait can be summed up by the slogan on their website: “Well fed and well treated: Our cows give better milk” (Kjaernes et al., 2008).

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