New animal welfare milk labeling introduced by German retailers

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Lidl's Milbona brand milk has category 4 - the highest animal welfare standard - labeling. Pic: Lidl
Lidl's Milbona brand milk has category 4 - the highest animal welfare standard - labeling. Pic: Lidl

Related tags Germany Animal welfare Milk Lidl Aldi Rewe Edeka Group

German retailers are switching milk sources to reflect animal welfare standards.

ALDI recently announced that, by 2030 at the latest, ALDI Nord and ALDI SÜD will only offer milk from the more animal welfare-friendly husbandry levels 3 and 4 of the Haltungsform scheme.

The move follows that of EDEKA, which includes the Netto supermarket chain, which announced a similar move a week ago. REWE made an announcement in late 2021 it would be gradually introducing the four-stage husbandry labeling for its milk and dairy products, beginning with its organic fresh milk. The move includes REWE’s PENNY stores. Lidl has also made a similar announcement.

German retailers follow the Haltungsform scoring system whereby levels 3 and 4 are the highest in terms of animal welfare. Levels 1 and 2 reflect animals kept indoors. Farms must register for the scheme, and need to meet certain minimum standards to qualify for any of the four levels. Most organic food is level 4, or Premium. The system has been in use for meat, and from January 1, it is being extended to dairy.

Currently, 25% of the milk at ALDI Nord and ALDI SÜD comes from husbandry types 3 and 4.  By 2023, this proportion will rise to 40%, and by 2024, the company will not use any milk from type 1 farms. From 2024, ALDI will only purchase milk from Germany.

aldi milk
Pic: Aldi

The company said by 2030 at the latest, all its milk will come from husbandry categories 3 and 4.

ALDI said it is currently in contact with partners and suppliers in order to apply the husbandry labeling to the milk packaging of its own brands as quickly as possible. The first milk products with labeling of the type of husbandry are anticipated in the first quarter of 2022. Initially, dairy products from husbandry types 3 and 4 will be labeled.

EDEKA and Netto Marken-Discount said they will switch their entire own-brand milk range to husbandry categories 2 or higher during 2022. The move is also planned for other milk and dairy products.

Lidl said 100% of its organic milk is certified according to the highest Bioland standard, and 65% of its drinking milk range will in future be awarded with husbandry levels 3 or 4, while 50% of the Lidl branches offer pasture milk as a minimum standard in the fresh sector.


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