Competition body to detail Dairy Farmers bid concerns The Australian competition regulator is expected to announce its initial views on attempts by a number of dairy groups to acquire Dairy Farmers, one of the country's leading cooperatives, say news reports. The potential sale of the group, which has attracted the attention of some of the world's largest dairy players including Parmalat, National Foods and Fonterra has raised concerns over the impact on the industry of any such deal. The initial opinions of the regulator on the impact of selling the cooperative to local counterpart National Foods is expected by the end of the week, the Financial Times newspaper reported yesterday. Further statements on the similar impact of the interest from foreign groups like Italy-based Parmalat will be expected later in the month, the report added. Dairy Farmers has a number of operations from speciality cheeses and yoghurts to soy products and juices. Nordic cheese makers gunning for Euro competitors Nordic cheese makers claim that there products can compete with the big boys of European cheese production like France and Italy by playing up the unique taste and quality characteristics stemming from fromage sourced in the region. As part of the New Nordic Food program that is designed to promote locally made food products, a selection of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish cheeses will be promoted in an attempt to raise local awareness of the products amidst the popularity of French and Italian offerings. The products, which include a number of spiced cheeses, are being championed by Nordic food program chief Einar Risvik and Swedish restaurateur Carl Jan Granqvist, in a bid to boost the local manufacturing industry. Granqvist claims that there has already proved to be a sharp rise in interest of the produce as consumers are appreciating the respective qualities of these products. "The Region has an image of being well disciplined in terms of hygiene. We don't have salmonella or mad cow disease," he stated. "Our climate also infuses cheeses with taste characteristics all of their own, which makes them attractive." The Nordic Council, which works for the mutual benefit of individual countries in the region, says that the cheeses will be promoted at a number of key events in Stavanger, Norway, this week, including the Bocuse d'Or Europe cuisine competition. "The Nordic Region boasts more cheese types than France, and yet restaurants in the Region often serve up Italian or French cheeses," the council stated. "New Nordic Food wants to buck that trend, believing that Nordic cheese is of such high quality that we should learn to be proud of it and serve local products in the Region." The New Nordic Food programme was launched by the council back in 2006 as part of initiatives to boost interest in regional cuisine.