UK farmer-owned organic dairy cooperative Omsco has launched its first branded range of Cheddar created specifically for the UK market.
The Grass Roots Dairy Co. range aims to tap into a growing demand from consumers who care about the foods they eat; care about the animals that produce them; and care about the impact they have on the planet.
The cheese is made from milk produced by a farming system that is accredited to be free from the use of pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilisers, GMOs and also, unusually for most UK dairy products, antibiotics. The free-range, grass-fed milk is produced by cows that graze on pastures for, on average, 235 days a year. Animal health, welfare and husbandry are critical issues for Omsco’s farmer-owners, the company stressed.
Omsco said its organic dairy farmers are committed to producing milk in a way that ‘sustains and enhances the natural environment’, with regenerative practices and the use of natural fertilisers supporting soil health and biodiversity.
“The brand has been in development for some 12 months working in close partnership with the Somerset-based cheesemaker Wyke Farms,” a spokesperson for the cooperative told DairyReporter.
The Grass Roots Dairy Co. range is made in Somerset employing traditional recipes and techniques. While its sustainable credentials are further enhanced by the use of green energy derived from 100% renewable Solar power and biogas from an AD plant.
A premium RRP for dairy with values
The Grass Roots Dairy Co. range will start appearing in specialist cheesemongers, delis, independent retailers, and farm shops later this month. It will also be available through selected wholesalers including specialist cheese and dairy suppliers such as The Cheese Merchant and Proper Good Dairy. The cooperative also plans to launch in direct-to-consumer, with plans to rollout direct to home box schemes and online.
The Omsco spokesperson explained that this rollout strategy aims to allow Grass Roots Dairy Co. to reach its target consumer through market channels shoppers already demonstrate they are ‘committed to paying more for food that reflects their values,’.
“Our focus for the brand is to sell it through on-line/box scheme/farm shop, high end delis and the independent sector so that we can engage with consumers who are willing to pay a premium for high quality, natural, sustainable and great tasting food... Our RRP is premium but we believe given its great taste and the values that it encompasses will be seen as representing great value.”
The range will initially consist of Mild Organic Cheddar, 200g pre-pack with an RRP of £3.25; Mature Organic Cheddar, 200g pre-pack with an RRP of £3.50; and Extra Mature Organic Cheddar, 200g pre-pack with an RRP of £3.75.
The launch comes at a time when dairy producers are facing considerable pressure from rising input prices and depressed consumer spending. But Omsco said this is all the more reason to launch a premium brand that communicates the value of the cooperative’s sustainability efforts.
“As you rightly say the dairy sector is under significant pressure and we are therefore concentrating on adding value to our members' milk and returning this to them. In line with this, a key focus for Omsco is on growing our organic cheese business not only in the US (where our Kingdom Cheese and British Organic Dairy Co. brands are establishing good traction), but also in the UK and the rest of the world. Hence the launch in the UK of the Grass Roots Dairy Co. brand.
“In addition to adding value to Members’ milk, we also believe that the brand will give us the opportunity to showcase all that’s great about organic dairy.”