A co-operative of organic milk producers in Wales that supplies some of the UK’s best known organic brands is improving the distribution of its own label products with help from the Co-operative Loan Fund.
Calon Wen (meaning ‘white heart’ in Welsh) is a farmers’ co-operative with 25 members from all over Wales who produce a total of 19 million litres of organic milk a year. They set up the co-operative in 2000 with the aim of securing a long-term market for organic milk from Wales. The majority of their milk goes to Rachel’s to make yoghurt and to other dairy companies, but they also market a range of Calon Wen branded milk, butter and cheese. The new loan has been used to buy two refrigerated vans to improve the delivery of Calon Wen products to Welsh retailers.
Calon Wen pays its farmers for the quality as well as the quantity of the milk they produce, which means they are not pushed towards high yielding systems. The co-operative is committed to building fair and ethical trading relationships with everyone involved in the production and packing of Calon Wen milk.
Dai Miles, Managing Director of Calon Wen, said: “As organic farmers we want to stay close to our customers and the new delivery vans will help us develop our local market. The demand for organic produce is picking up and we expected to sell more of our own label milk, butter and cheese in future.”
Ian Taylor of The Co-operative Loan Fund said: “These farmers are not only good at producing organic milk, they are also good at running a co-operative. It’s an example of how to run a business effectively by pooling your skills. They’ve got a superb product and very imaginative marketing. They should do well.”