Organic co-op Omsco has begun shipping UK-produced organic milk to China as bottled UHT.
The trade is being done as a result of its partnership with the largest organic producer co-op in the US, Organic Valley/Cropp.
Omsco sends the milk to France for processing and says that the arrangement is a great enhancement to its mix of premium products. The co-op is the only supplier in Europe to hold US Department of Agriculture organic accreditation.
See also: How to get your farm products into China
Managing director Richard Hampton would not be drawn on the volumes involved but the first three consignments to port cities Tianjin, Shanghai and Shenzhen are being distributed to retail outlets throughout China.
Although the UK market generally was in a poor state because of the economic background and retailer price competition, Omsco was looking for more milk, said Mr Hampton (see About Omsco below).
There was a good interest in specialist dairy ingredients and products that could meet different certification requirements.
Organic Valley is the leading imported organic dairy brand in China and the business Omsco is doing replaces US-produced organic UHT milk which Organic Valley had been sending to China.
“In 2013 we became the first European organic producer certified to USDA organic standards,” said Mr Hampton.
“In 2015 we then achieved accreditation to Chinese standards through the Soil Association. Meanwhile, our historic partnership with Organic Valley, also announced last year, has allowed us to look together at ways of using our combined milk pools in the most efficient manner on a global scale,” he said.
“Our strategy remains to supply quality raw milk and specialist ingredients to strategic customers under long-term arrangements, rather than distribute and sell retail products in these markets.
“This partnership offers both co-operatives huge growth potential, fulfilling orders with certified USDA milk. Chinese certified UHT organic milk adds to our growing portfolio of products in international markets, and gives us great confidence in the future of UK organic dairying.”
- Milk volume 7-8% up on a year ago
- Rolling 12-month farmgate milk price about 38p/litre
- 3p/litre bonus for extra production through autumn and winter 2016
- Producers meeting the USDA standard currently paid 40p/litre-plus
- 250 farmer members across UK
- 100% organic, farmer-owned and farmer-run dairy co-operative
- Europe’s largest dedicated producer of organic milk, managing 65% of the UK’s organic milk supply, and second largest dedicated organic dairy producer in the world
- UK’s largest organic cheese producer
- Annual turnover of £100m