This year, organic milk production has reached a new record. The nation's dairy giant, Valio, raised the price paid to organic milk producers at the beginning of this year.
The Food and Farm Facts division of the Finnish polling company TNS Gallup reports that this year organic milk production will exceed 40 million litres, which is up about one-fifth from last year. The increased demand has brought a greater variety of organic milk products into shop coolers, including lactose-free and fat-free versions.
New long-life milk hits shelves
Since the beginning of September, the S Group has been importing ultra-heat treated (UHT) organic milk, which has a long shelf life without refrigeration.
The milk is produced and packed at a dairy in Germany near the Danish border.
"In addition to our fresh Finnish milks, we wanted to bring this kind of organic alternative with a long shelf life onto the market," says Ilkka Alarotu, director of grocery chain management at the S Group.
Of course, some of the shelf life time is used up as the cartons are transported to Finnish stores from the continent.
The S Group estimates that its overall sales of organic products will total some 100 million euros this year. Besides milk, the briskest growth has been in meat and ready-made meals. The company also faces a shortage of domestic organic cheeses.
Fresh air and natural fodder
Organic milk in Finland is pasteurised like regular milk. However it is not usually homogenised, nor is vitamin D added to it.
Organic dairy farmers avoid unnecessary medication of animals, but they are given antibiotics if needed. The cows are given fodder that is grown without pesticides or artificial fertilisers. Fodder may also not include any genetically-modified organisms.
Organic cows are allowed to go outdoors freely all year round, and are guaranteed larger spaces indoors, among other stipulations.
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