Marks and Spencer is to become the first retailer in Britain to launch a brand of “healthier” milk.
The milk is said to have at least 6% less saturated fat than standard milk due to a tailored dairy cow diet -trialled last year – that features the removal of all palm oil.
I haven’t seen the results of any scientific studies on the affect of palm oil on milk quality and its fat content but diet does impact on the quantity and quality of milk produced by animals and people.
Babies of vegan mothers who fully breast feed don’t get enough fat for brain development and healthy physical growth.
To support farmer suppliers who convert to the new feed regime, M&S will introduce a new payment contract for farmers who achieve the reduced saturated fat level. M&S says the contract will recognise any additional costs incurred.
This is how the market should work. The end user tells farmers what it wants and is prepared to pay a premium to compensate for the added costs of producing it.
Fonterra should keep a very close eye on this development for two reasons: palm kernel is used as a feed supplement here and could be affecting the quality of milk produced; and there could be a premium for our milk, most of which is supplied by free range, grass-fed cows.