Saint Père Dairy (Loire Atlantique) is modernizing their production site. Three years ago they created a new brand, “Les Éleveurs vous disent Merci !” (“Dairy Farmers Say Thank You!”), in order to pay their milk producers better.

Saint Père Dairy is investing €11 million in a new creamery

Saint Père Dairy (Loire Atlantique) is modernizing their production site. Three years ago they created a new brand, “Les Éleveurs vous disent Merci !” (“Dairy Farmers Say Thank You!”), in order to pay their milk producers better.

Milk, butter, crème fraîche, desserts… Nearly 230 different items are produced every year at Saint Père Dairy, in Saint Père en Retz, in Loire Atlantique. The milk collected comes from French dairy farms that are all located within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the dairy. In 2019, Saint Père processed 260 million liters (nearly 70 million gallons) of milk collected from 362 partner farms (representing over 720 farmers), for total revenue of €251 million.

The business, which has 340 employees, is continuing its investment strategy and has begun the modernization work on its butter-producing equipment, which will cost a total of €11 million. The goal is to replace the machinery that dates back to the 1980s. The new, 2,200 m2 (24,000 ft.2) facility should be in service by the fall of 2021.

Founded in 1905, the dairy, a medium-sized business, joined the Agromousquetaires (“Agro-Musketeers”), the industrial branch of the Intermarché supermarket chain. In fact, since 1990, the Les Mousquetaires E.I.G. has included two dairies. This allows them to supply their 1,800 points of sale with 100% French milk.

– Paying farmers better –

Another distinguishing characteristic is that Saint Père pays farmers one of the highest rates for milk of any dairy in France. According to the most recent ranking in L’éleveur laitier, a weekly magazine for the sector, in 2019, Saint Père Dairy paid the highest price per ton of milk in the Brittany and Pays de la Loire regions, with an average for the year of €392.82 per 1,000 liters (264 gallons). That price also makes it the third best-paying dairy in France.1

Taking their fair-pay policy even further, in 2018, the company launched the “Les Éleveurs vous disent Merci !” brand. Every carton of milk has the price paid to the farmers printed on it. “The desired objective is to raise consumer awareness when they are making a purchase,” Thierry Collineau, the director of Saint Père Dairy, explains. “By paying farmers well, we aim to help maintain dairy farming in our region.”

“The project is pretty straightforward: the idea is to pay the dairy farmers who contract with Saint Père Dairy better,” Claire Guillard, sales and marketing manager for the Agromousquetaires’ milk branch, confirms.

“The goal is to produce cartons of milk within a local distribution network, sell it for 88 cents (of a euro), which is slightly higher than standard prices, and then to offer dairy farmers a better rate, because they get 50% of theretail price, i.e. 44 cents.”

 

“The idea is to produce cartons of milk within a local distribution network, sell it for 88 cents (of a euro), which is slightly higher than standard prices, and then to offer dairy farmers a better rate, because they get 50% of the retail price, i.e. 44 cents.” It is a choice that has a real impact on farmers because, in supermarkets, milk usually sells for 78 cents a liter, and the farmers get just 26 cents.

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