Swiss retailer Coop has launched ‘Heumilch’ (‘Hay Milk’), a new line of milk, cream, cheese and butter products that uses milk sourced from cows fed exclusively on Swiss hay.
All of the new products carry the Heumilch Association mark, which defines the requirements to which producers Heumilch breeders must comply; compliance with these guidelines is regularly monitored by an independent body.
“Cows producing hay milk must spend at least 26 days a month on pasture in summer and have access to all year to outdoor areas,” says the co-op.
“The feeding of Heumilch cows follows the natural course of the year: the animals are fed with fresh herbs in summer and hay in winter.”
As the cows’ diet is 100% natural and doesn’t contain silage fodder, this improves the quality of the product, it adds. “It is the diversity of Swiss grass and pastures that gives its intense taste to milk.”
Together with the Heumilch Association, Coop Switzerland has set itself the goal of promoting Swiss milk as a high quality product with equally high standards of animal welfare.
At present, the price paid to Heumilch producers for their milk is at least 5 centimes more per litre than the target price for conventional milk.
The new products are available at major Coop supermarkets throughout Switzerland.
Last year Coop Switzerland recorded a 3.1% sales increase to CHF 29.2bn (£21.6bn), with sales in its retail business increasing by 1.4%.