The high prices were attributed to lower milk production by cattle, caused by unstable weather patterns limiting the quality of cattle feed. Energy prices driven up by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also played a role.
The company is also branching out into more plant-based products, as reported by the Leeuwarder Courant. Over the past year, the dairy cooperative has introduced oat and almond-based drinks, alternatives for whipped cream and baking, and plant-based protein powders under their Friesche Vlag, Chocomel and Campina brands.
Beyond consumer demand and environmental impact, FrieslandCampina’s managing director Dustin Woodward was quoted in the LC as saying “It’s the job of a cooperative to create as much value as possible for our dairy farm members. Our focus is and will remain dairy from those members. By adding plant-based products to our product line, we’re creating extra value for those members. The money we make will be reinvested on the farms.”
FrieslandCampina is one of the world’s largest dairy companies, which was formed in a merger of Friesland Foods (based in Meppel, in Drenthe) and Campina (from Zaltbommel, in the province of Gelderland) in 2008. Friesland Foods was founded as a cooperative, meaning its farmer members were also co-owners, in 1879.
Chocomel and Fristi
The company produces brands such as Chocomel, Friesche Vlag, Milner, Mona and Fristi. The dairy giant is classified as a cooperative, with nearly 10,000 dairy farms and 15,700 dairy farmers in the Netherlands, as well as Belgium and Germany, included in its member ranks. The company also has many international brand names across Europe, Asia and Africa.
The dairy industry is the largest agricultural sector in the northern Netherlands (43% of all farm-based businesses), of which Friesland makes up more than half, according to a report by Wageningen University commissioned by the three northern provinces of Groningne, Drenthe and Friesland.
As of 2022, Friesland is home to thousands of dairy producers, and has the most cattle in the entire country: 2,930 farms, and over 500,000 cows. Groningen has 773 cattle farms, and Drenthe has 843.
Efforts in the Netherlands to enforce new nitrogen emissions norms have been met by violent protest by some farmers across the country: dairy cows are some of the biggest emitters of nitrogen and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases.
Offers have been made to voluntarily buy out cattle farmers in order to reduce national nitrogen emissions, with 270 million euros being set aside specifically for the dairy producers. But thus far, around 1,000 farmers have signed on to the plan (less than half of the number deemed necessary to significantly counteract emissions levels).
Certified organic farms make up only 1.5 percent of FrieslandCampina’s current member companies, yet research from Wageningen University found that “cows at organic farms produced 22% less nitrogen in their manure, while the emission volume per hectare was 53% lower”, according to DutchNews.nl.