Farm Dairy in the media: the Lelystad pioneer in sustainable dairy

We were recently featured prominently in FlevoPost in Lelystad. Read the full article with our director Arend Bouwer below.

Do you ever eat custard or yogurt, or sometimes drink a glass of milk? Chances are your dessert or drink was produced by Lelystad-based Farm Dairy. Their factory on Kaapstanderweg is one of the largest dairy production sites in the Netherlands. Earlier this year, Farm Dairy received the entrepreneur award BKL Trofee. "A confirmation of our innovative choices," said director Arend Bouwer.

When Farm Dairy was named winner of the prestigious BKL trophy, Bouwer's first reaction was a mixture of surprise and satisfaction. "It was a surprise," Bouwer confesses modestly. 'Despite Farm Dairy not being directly visible to the public as a dairy and functioning as a private label-which means their products are sold under the supermarket brand name and not their own-their hard work and dedication was recognized. "I really appreciate the judges looking at our strategy, the big investments we are making and our steps toward the protein transition, which is in line with market trends. Think plant-based dairy production' says Bouwer. Farm Dairy can proudly say they process 100 percent sustainable milk, the most sustainable milk available. 'But, we believe it can and should be even more sustainable,' he stresses. 'This recognition by the judges feels like a confirmation of our innovative choices.'

Sustainable milk

Farm Dairy is taking the lead in the transition to more sustainable milk production. Arend Bouwer explains: "Milk is not inherently unsustainable, but the method of production can be. Intensive livestock farming and importing cattle feed from distant countries puts an unnecessary burden on the environment. At Farm Dairy, we work according to the standards of "on the way to PlanetProof," a certification that sets strict requirements for climate (for example, the use of green energy), biodiversity (how the land is farmed) and animal welfare. These three aspects are essential to us," Bouwer stressed. The certificate includes 30 pages of requirements that society can tighten to improve farming practices. 'For example, we can decide that calves stay with the cow longer as part of our certification,' he states. 'Of course, farmers must be given time to make such changes. Because farmers certainly want that, although an unambiguous policy from the government has not been established at this time.'

Nutritious and local

Farm Dairy is about to enter a new phase with the introduction of plant-based dairy products. 'At the end of this year we will enter the market with our first commercial plant-based dairy products. We are now building a new hall and within a few months we expect the production machines. We are focusing on oat milk, soy milk and vegetable yogurt,' Bouwer says enthusiastically. 'When developing plant-based dairy, we naturally have the climate impact in mind. For example, we are investigating how we can use local raw materials, such as the soy, oats and field beans already growing in Flevoland, to make a Dutch product.' Farm Dairy lab technicians are also scrutinizing the nutritional value of plant-based milk. 'Many current plant-based alternatives are nutritionally deficient. Oat milk, for example, falls nutritionally under soft drinks. We are looking at how we can combine different plant-based ingredients to create a nutritional value similar to milk.

Nice club

Big plans often also bring challenges. Arend Bouwer expresses his concerns about energy supply in Flevoland and Lelystad: 'Despite our initiatives to reduce energy use, the pressure on energy supply is a barrier to further development. It would be unfortunate if deficits hinder our sustainable mission.' Bouwer is less concerned about recruiting new colleagues. 'There are a lot of great jobs coming into our company! We are a nice club to join: a positive atmosphere, socially involved and appreciative of green trends: an organization you can get behind. I'd say keep an eye on our job openings!'