The other day in the supermarket, I noticed that Coles is now stocking 'Great Ocean Road' milk, which is made by the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory. It's far cheaper than the Parmalat Pure Organic milk we usually buy. I want to be thoughtful about how we use our money, 'voting' for a sustainable food system, without being extravagant (especially since neither of us has much of an income this year).
Here's my research about Warrnambool Cheese and Butter company and their milk:
- Their existing brand is Sungold (http://coffeesnobs.com.au/milk-froth-bubbles/32321-great-ocean-road-milk.html), but WCB and Coles are creating a new brand - but same milk (http://coffeesnobs.com.au/milk-froth-bubbles/32321-great-ocean-road-milk.html);
- They're Australian owned and local (Victorian and eastern South Australia) and 'Great Ocean Road' milk is only being delivered to Victorian supermarkets;
- Sustainability is at least on the radar of WCB - it gets a section on their website (http://www.wcbf.com.au/sustainability.aspx);
- The Ethical Consumer Guide like them because they're locally (Australian) owned, have voluntarily signed the Australian Packaging Covenant and have environmental claims on their website. They rate them as a 'light tick', 'lesser praise, no criticisms' (http://www.ethical.org.au/guide/browse/guide/?cat=172&subcat=197&type=15);
- WCB make it onto a list of alternative milk providers that are preferable to Coles/Woolworths on at least list of more 'ethical' milks (http://flavourcrusader.com/blog/2011/03/family-dairy-milk-organic/);
- "Sungold milk comes from the cleanest, greenest region
of Australia and travels from the farm to the shelf in less than 24
hours, ensuring that Sungold is the freshest milk available." (http://www.premierspeedway.com.au/release.asp?NewsId=24520)
- Ethical Consumer Guide likes the individual product because it is certified organic, but doesn't like the company because they're foreign owned, have joint ventures with Nestle, recently went bankrupt because of massive corporate financial fraud and their palm oil policy scored 1.5/9 by WWF's measurementsn (although they have signed the voluntary Australian Packaging Covenant). Their overall rating is a strong X, 'criticisms' (http://www.ethical.org.au/company/?company=504);
- They're certified organic by NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia), which means that they need to care very well for their animals and are definitely passing on excellent paddocks and soil to future generations;
- Frustratingly they don't seem to think it's relevant on their website to talk about where the milk comes from, or any of the environmental issues associated with its production and transportation;
- Local Harvest say they discovered that "the True Organic coop in Victoria provide the milk for Parmalat’s ‘Pure organic’ brand. The majority of these farms are located within 200kms of Melbourne." (http://www.localharvest.org.au/take-the-challenge/food-audit/)
Update: As it turns out, I've discovered that CERES Fair Food - who we are hosts for - deliver Schultz milk, which also happens to be cheaper than the 'Pure Organic' milk. I love buying from CERES because I like their buying policy - they buy local and establish relationships with as many suppliers as they can. Although Schultz is unhomogenised, which my daughter doesn't like, so we're also buying Great Ocean Road for her.