Three Dutch cheese processors have joined forces to produce and market goat's milk products. Heijkoop, De Jong and CBM believe that by combining their strengths, they can increase their efficiency and market strength and achieve better milk prices for farmers. This, they say, would be an important step in establishing a sound and viable dairy goat sector in The Netherlands.
The market for products based on goat milk is expanding at rapid rate. Dutch goat milk enjoys a good reputation for its high quality and mild flavour, and the market share of Dutch milk is growing steadily. The combination of Heijkoop, De Jong and CBM establishes these companies as the leading market force.
The new partnership will collect milk, produce Gouda and soft goat cheeses and sell and market a complete range of products for both the business-to-business market - cheese, milk powders, curd - and the retail market - cheese, fresh dairy products and long life products. The three firms already occupy leading positions in the Dutch dairy market.
The collection of the milk will be carried out by Heijkoop and De Jong, though joint collection of milk may be an option for the future. The production of gouda cheese will remain at Heijkoop's Oud-Alblas factory, while soft cheeses and curd will continue to be produced at De Jong's Alphen facility. A number of commercial and logistical activities will be concentrated at CBM's Wierden headquarters.
In the past year the goat sector has been under a lot of pressure. Rapid growth of the milk production has caused historically low milk prices and initiatives of processors to jointly deal with this situation have had little to no effect. As a result, he sector has asked the NCR (National Co-operative Board for Agriculture) to advice in this matter. According to NCR, the only feasible and structural solution for the sector would be to join forces and focus on joint marketing and sales of goat milk products.
"The activities fit together very well and together we can offer a full and complete range of products," said a spokesperson for De Jong. "Heijkoop and CBM have already worked together for a few years now and there is confidence that we fit together."
According to Ben Busser of CBM, the potential of the Dutch goat milk market made it obvious to join forces. "Co-operation is good for all of us, especially for the farmers and our customers. There is a need for knowledge and know-how. We must develop markets with our customers and add more value to the product goat milk. Competition among processors for the market through pricing is leads to nothing."