Umpqua Dairy is POURING ON ORGANICS. The Roseburg dairy is betting on the growing segment of milk sales to capitalize growth.
The dairy based in Roseburg previously had purchased organic milk from a Portland processor and sold it under the Umpqua label, said Steve Feldkamp, chief operating officer.
Now, Umpqua is buying organic milk from a Josephine County dairy, he said. The milk is shipped to Umpqua’s main production plant in Roseburg. The milk is then pasteurized and put in containers, Feldkamp said.
Umpqua had its manufacturing plant certified for organic food production by Organic Tilth late last year, he said.
Bottling and distributing organic milk from Southern Oregon cows is the firm’s response to growing consumer demand for organic milk, Feldkamp said. “We want to be able to provide our customers with the quality dairy products that they want and they have come to expect from Umpqua dairy,” he said.
ORGANIC MILK MARKET GROWING | POURING ON ORGANICS
The organic milk market already is served in many Oregon stores by the Organic Valley cooperative chain. They also serve a number of local and regional dairies, including Alpenrose, based in Portland. Umpqua sells relatively little organic milk, “but we hope to grow that over time as we acquire new customers and find new outlets,” Feldkamp said.
SALES OF DAIRY MILK DECLINING | POURING ON ORGANICS
Umpqua’s move comes at a time when overall milk sales are declining. Sales of dairy milk are declining in Western Europe and North America. A recent report from Mintel stating that dairy in the US should expect a continuous sales decline for at least the next 3 years. The forecast for total US dairy milk sales to decrease to $15.9bn, an 11% drop during the 2015 to 2020 period.
Consumers are choosing nondairy alternatives, such as soy, almond and coconut milk.
However, while conventional milk sales as measured by weight dropped more than 8 percent between 2012 and 2016, organic milk sales increased 20 percent during the same time. This according to data from the federal Department of Agriculture’s marketing service.
Umpqua’s organic milk is produced by cows that graze in pastures and eat pesticide-free grass, hay and grain. The cows are not treated with antibiotics. Umpqua’s conventional milk is produced by cows that are not treated with artificial growth hormones. This production of Organic milk is the Standard required to receive Organic Certification.
Feldcamp added that Eugene-based Market of Choice is a major buyer of Umpqua Dairy organic milk, he said. He added, Umpqua has distribution centers in several cities, including one near the Eugene airport that supplies retailers in the Eugene and Corvallis areas.
With about 260 employees, Umpqua is the largest independent dairy in Southern Oregon.
SUMMARY | POURING ON ORGANICS
Umpqua has made a move towards Organics as consumers are generally moving away from conventional milk. As a result, consumers instead are choosing Organic Milk and Plant Based Milk (Coconut, Almond, etc.) in mass. Importantly, it is wonderful from our perspective to see this Regional Dairy move the Organic direction. The support their business will take them is a benefit to consumers in the area.
Further, although milk itself is controversial generally in the Organic, Whole Food, Plant Based markets there are enough consumers transitioning away from conventional milk to provide a significant market for this venture.
One large improvement over another conventional dairy.
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