Industry Editorial: The Organic Horse
The first story tells of a pilot study indicating that milk and meat from cloned cows and bulls appears to be safe for human consumption.
Scientists in the United States and Japan cloned a bull and a cow by transferring genetic material from an adult cell to an egg.
Meat and milk from the clones was compared with that from conventionally-bred animals of similar age and breed. Analysis of protein, fat and other variables revealed no significant differences in milk from the cloned dairy cows. More than 100 meat quality criteria were also examined, and of these, 90% also showed no significant variation.
From the food manufacturer and marketer's point of view this is great news. Cloning the most productive animals could increase productivity and take away a lot of risk for farmers. For dairy processors that might translate to a less volatile raw milk market.
The second story has to do with milk supply too, but with that of organic milk. Seems demand for organic milk is outstripping supply. The Dallas Morning News reported on it last month on the same day that Organic Valley Family of Farms introduced the latest of its regional organic milks-Texas Pastures.
From the perspective of the consumer it seems that organic milk is great news. Those who buy it believe it's a better product, and/or they believe that consuming it will help protect the environment. Their ranks are growing, and as a result, some markets and outlets will soon offer a choice between two or three national brands, a regional brand from Organic Valley, and maybe even a private label.
What happens when you swap perspectives on these two stories? The consumer may be intrigued by the idea of cloned cows. If she is busy juggling life, liberty and the pursuit of quality family time, she may have even entertained the idea of cloning herself.
But do cloned cows translate into any kind of added value for her in the dairy case? Hmmm... more likely the opposite, and unless there are a lot more pilots done that's not likely to change soon.
And what's the dairy processor's point of view on organic milk? Well, some say it's too costly to produce, some note that the market is still just a niche, and others see it as a great growth opportunity.
It's important to understand the processor's perspective, and it's important to understand the consumer's perspective. But what these two stories tell us is that it's most important to keep the consumer's horse in front of the producer's cart.