‘C'est qui le patron’ brand success leads to expansion into butter, crème fraiche and yogurt

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

The fair trade milk brand. Picture: C'est qui le Patron?
The fair trade milk brand. Picture: C'est qui le Patron?

Related tags Milk Cattle

A fair-trade milk scheme where shoppers set fair prices for farmers has seen initial success with its C'est qui le patron? (Who is the boss) brand selling five million cartons of milk in four months.

Waste pressure group Gueules Cassées came up with the idea last year when France was facing a summer of farm protests over too-low milk prices.

Butter, crème fraîche, yogurt


Nicolas Chabanne, founder, Gueules Cassées, said at the time the deal sees farmers paid 39 centimes per liter of milk and in return they agree to feed their cows local forage, no genetically modified products and to keep the animals at pasture for up to six months a year.

The decision came after dairy group Lactalis allegedly agreed to pay farmers 27.5 centimes but farmers claim it is not enough to cover the costs of production and a fair wage.

Thanks to its success the brand is now considering future launches with butter, crème fraîche, yogurt, eggs, apple purée, peaches, mince and ham, among others.

Chabanne said thanks to its success, sales are ahead of target and growth is at 45%, and sales could even reach 30 to 50 million cartons by the end of the year.

The way the prices are set is based on a website questionnaire between consumers and farmers and then it is produced by the Laiterie Saint-Denis-de-l'Hotel farmers’ cooperative in Loiret, France.

The success of the brand means another 60 farms are being signed up to join the original 80.

99 centime

The semi-skimmed milk was originally launched for 99 centimes (85p/$1) for a liter in Carrefour stores in November and the product is now supported by supermarket chains Colryut, Intermarché, Auchan and Cora.

Now C'est qui le patron? is asking consumers to say what they want and what they are willing to pay for a range of new products – with fair-price apple juice and pizzas arriving in shops next month.

We have had inquiries from round the world about this initiative, attracting interest from Japan, the US, China, Germany, Italy and Romania​,” said Chabanne.

We exhibited the carton at SIAL tradeshow in Paris last year to promote it in English​.

"Carton manufacturer Tetra Pak had also indicated it wants to get involved and develop the concept across the world​.”

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