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News briefs: Lactalis, Arla and rock and roll cheese

By Neil Merrett , 11-Oct-2007

In this weeks round-up, some of France's leading dairy group's continue to rack up their prices amidst increasing dairy costs, the EU stands up for Staffordshire and cheese may be the new rock and roll.

Lactalis talks prices and acquisitions French group Lactalis has this week announced that it has been forced to increase prices for it brands due to the high price of commodities, while also preparing for possible acquisition in the market. Company spokesperson Luc Morelon confirmed to DairyReporter.com that the group was looking to increase the prices for all its dairy brands to better reflect the prices it is paying for raw milk. "The rate is different depending on the quantity of milk incorporated in the final product, particularly between yoghurts and cheeses," he stated. Lactalis were joined by national rival Danone, which also suggested this week that it too was preparing to increase its prices for yoghurt products in a bid to boost its profitability in the changing dairy changing market, according to media sources.


Morelon added that the situation was not just unique to French dairy production, with food and beverage groups throughout Europe feeling the pinch "In Germany, the situation has increased the prices for dairy products by more than 15 per cent," he stated. "Considering other agricultural products, don't forget than wheat price has doubled this year. This situation is the same in many products" Responding to suggestions made earlier in the week to the French financial press by group chairman Michel Leonard , Morelon added that the company "could" be interested in acquiring dairy brand Yoplait. Any move would depend on current major shareholder Sodiaal. Arla gets Russian go ahead


Arla Foods plans to form a joint venture in the Russian cheese market has this week been approved by regulatory authorities in the country. Operating under the name Arla Foods Artis, the company, which will also produce butter, expects to post strong growth in the coming years, according to Max Sørensen, head of the company's Eastern European food business. "Russia is an exciting market, which is experiencing very rapid economic development," he stated. "We see long-term potential in our joint company and will now begin to grow the business and get an even better insight into our customers and the Russian consumers' requirements." Staffordshire cheese gains EU protection


The UK's very own Staffordshire cheese has joined a number of leading European varieties of the product in obtaining one of the bloc's geographical indications (GI). In obtaining the GI, Staffordshire can now only be made under strict conditions protecting the cheese and its name being used on products. The GI system is broken down into classifications on protected designations of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI), and traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) food and drink products. PDOs, such as granted to Roquefort cheese, are granted to products that must be produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using a recognised, specified method. PGIs, such as Newcastle Brown Ale, require a link between at least one stage of production, processing or preparation and the region, place or country of origin.


TSGs, such as the Belgian cherry-flavoured beer Kriek, highlight the traditional composition or a traditional method of processing or preparation of a product. Sex, drugs, and goats cheese It appears that when it comes to cool, rock music can no longer cut it. Alex James, a member of UK band Blur, has now swapped his Bass guitar for cheese making. The hard rocking fromager suggested that the music scene should consider taking a leaf from cheese makers and food production in general when it comes to improving its image.



"The music business is a sinking battleship. It is a complete contrast to the food industry, which is just so buoyant," he told UK newspaper, The Telegraph. "You simply cannot make a food that is too posh or too expensive."

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