What is wrong with the dairy industry?

At the moment it is probably no worse than it was two, five or certainly ten years ago.

Long-term, it is struggling to restructure itself to meet then change in retail and international markets.

Overall the dairy market has been predictably uncertain with prices rising and falling for milk whilst oil, wheat, nitrogen among the many inputs all changing due to supply, demand and currency.

Why are milk prices low now?

Currency, world supply and falling demand. In fact, although many commentators will refuse to acknowledge; oil is often a predictor for milk prices and when you look at how many input costs for milk production are dependent on oil then perhaps it should not be a surprise. China is probably not helping as its demand for everything starts to fall just as food production has picked up.

But most milk is fresh and from a supermarket so why does it matter what world markets are doing?

Just for once perhaps, this short-term milk price problem is not directly due to the supermarkets and the price they pay for their direct supply milk. In fact, they pay some of the best prices for their directly contracted milk supply. However, the cheese and other dairy products are affected by world prices and supermarkets won’t pay more than anyone else, they can’t. Supermarkets can’t even compete generally at the moment as food prices and oil prices make their annual results look poor. Worse, Russia is closed off as a market to European producers compounding the immediate problem.

The government can intervene and offer to fix a minimum milk price?

Government intervention would not be legal (well not without some EU support, new laws etc.) it would take too long to agree and would not fix the problem. Why? Because the problem is not as simple as the milk price paid to farmers. If you artificially raise the minimum price for milk you make the products that it would go into unsellable on the open market because they would be more expensive than Irish butter and cheese or world prices for powder etc. etc.

So what can be done?

Very little other than accept that things will have to change. Farmers will have to reduce their costs; that means get bigger, produce differently and that may mean for many that they will go back to low-cost grass fed systems that will mean only producing in the spring and summer and accepting the commodity market price for their milk. Whilst others will have to produce dead level supply for premium markets that will pay for the privilege; these will be the supermarkets and some food-service customers who contract directly.

What will it mean for the rest of us?

We will import more milk and dairy products, drink more UHT and powdered milk sometimes and eat more foreign dairy if we want it cheap. We will also see more farmers becoming processors and producing their own branded specialist milk products in order to be competitive and sustainable. Banks will not lend to many farmers or processors unless they can command a premium and demonstrate they own a piece of the market. That means products that are novel or offer a real point of difference and a brand that is defendable.

What about the other markets. Food service; coffee shops, hotels and restaurants?

The reduction in both milk prices to farmers and the cost of processing falling on the back of oil prices should result in a more competitive market place. Worth remembering, what goes down often goes back up.

John Taylerson FCIM, MBA,

15th January 2015

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Explore the opportunity to add a little more revenue to every drink you sell

Coffee shop Christmas with pumpsIndustry research suggests that an average coffee-shop customer is worth about £3.20. A quick way to increase that is flavoured syrups. A 1 litre bottle of syrup should generate about £30 in additional revenue.
How? Offer a range of flavoured shots to existing drinks. Vanilla, Caramel, Gingerbread etc.in coffee or even Hazelnut, Cherry, Mint in chocolate-drinks too. Seasonal flavours like Cinnamon encourage new consumers with their seasonal aroma in a coffee shop.
Seasonal favourites: Christmas This year try Christmas-Cake, Eggnog, Crème Brûlée, Cinnamon, Cherry in coffee or in chocolate to make a Black Forest Gateaux flavoured drink

To help you exploit these flavours we have a special Starter-Kit offer. Any 4 x 1 litre flavours with a set of dosing pumps for £35 http://www.malmesburysyrups.co.uk/trade.asp

The starter kit includes 4 dosing pumps that dispense 10ml / shot and thread into the neck of our plastic (PET) bottles that look like glass but don’t smash like it.

Many more flavours so if you don’t see a flavour- just ask. For information, ideas and recipes: http://www.malmesburysyrups.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/coffeesyrups to join the debate

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Restaurants, Hotels, Bars- is mulled wine too much trouble?

1 Litre PET bottle, available with a dosing pump

1 Litre PET bottle, available with a dosing pump

Mulled Wine, Mulled Cider, Mulled Apple Juice – Solved
At last a simple solution to making a mulled wine/cider/apple juice etc.
A bottle of Syrup containing all the sugar, flavours and spices mixed in the exact proportions that means when mixed into wine, cider etc. you have an instant mulled drink.
Ideal for making one glass in the microwave, to mixing vast quantities for large parties.
Mixing about 10% of mulling syrup into the wine or cider of your choice gets an instant result and reduces wastage- you can just make as little as you need or even a glass at a time.
These are simple to make; apple juice warmed up (use a soup tureen or similar or even a micro-wave) with Mulling Syrup (it has all the spices, flavours and sugar) at about 10% inclusion, stir and serve.
Pubs and hotels use it to make mulled wine or cider as it provides a finished product ready to serve in seconds.
Still not sure? Why not check this short video on YouTube and see just how simple it is:

To enquire further or order click here Mulling Syrups

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Calories – food additives and the laws of unintended consequences

How old are you? Rhetorical question but I am assuming you don’t need me to tell you that running with a pint glass in your mouth whilst holding scissors in the other hand isn’t the safest thing you can do? So why oh why do we think that the great British public (they being the people who drag money out of their pockets to fund the economy) should be lectured about what they should or should not eat drink etc.?

Calories; before anyone gets vexed again about how many calories there might be in a large flavoured latte; can I just draw your attention to the following.  Alcohol is the largest source of calories in most people’s diets. Calories are not bad, the type or source of them might be.  So, a large milky drink is a better source of calories than a glass of wine.  Our brains require sugar to function, there is absolutely no point in drinking a sugar-free cola, it has no nutritional value whatsoever.  Cheese will have fat in it. But is a much better source of fat than that ‘one molecule short of plastic’ margarine you might be mistakenly thinking was helping you live longer. My point? Simplistic messages are misleading and may well have provoked the laws of unintended consequences i.e. consumers may make poor choices as a result.

Free from? Another potentially simplistic message that could have unintended consequences.

E numbers are bad? No, not always.  Additives are to be avoided. No, not necessarily. Example; E300, is ascorbic acid, that is Vitamin C to you and me, it is an antioxidant, very good for you in theory. I picked a extreme example. But let’s say potassium sorbate; safe in low doses, and stops spoilage from spores (the potential sources of food poisoning . My point; do we want to risk food poisoning and waste or be fastidious about ‘no additives’?  What if the additive actually protects food safety? What if the risk of the spoilage organisms is much greater than any risk from a safe and approved additive?

We need to avoid simplistic messages and inform our customers about the What and Why of our foods.

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From the HootSuite Blog: 5 Ways Women Dr

From the HootSuite Blog: 5 Ways Women Drive Social Media – http://ow.ly/v1RA0

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Summer at last, so time to think about Christmas then?

Mulling Syrup 1 Litre 2365x2365 (rejected)Hard to imagine that winter is just round the corner! Yes I know it is June but in two weeks the nights start to draw in, the summer holidays start and as we know, ask any child and the holidays go too quick. Then it will be September which is almost autumn which these days means October / November isn’t far away, and we get snow early if the last two years are anything to go by; that means Christmas isn’t far away!

Christmas, glad you mentioned it. Have you decided on what folk will be ordering?
This Christmas is going to be all about spiced drinks. There isn’t a drink you can’t spice up to make more seasonal. Seriously, name any drink and I bet we can make it “seasonal” with one of our flavours.
Wine and cider are easy with our Mulling Syrup. Quick shot and its sorted. All the sugar and natural spices in the ideal proportions. If you are a pub etc. then it is ideal for an easy solution to the festive season. (the other solution is to fiddle about with sugar and spices for hours or give people the “vegetarian option” ) see how easy it is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCyAD3bvB60

Convinced? Good, click here and order now, after all it is nearly Christmas!

Mind you, if it is to warm for you then you can always spice up a fruit smoothie, good way of making something different. And if you want a Milk shake to taste like Christmas, even in the summer, add a shot of our natural Cinnamon flavoured syrup. A Christmas milk shake in the summer. Who would of thought?

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Intellectual Property (IP) -Why it’s not very clever to ignore it!

a design, synonymous with your product

Don’t think you have any intellectual property? It’s the sort of thing that other people create, right? Then let me challenge you.

Do you make a product? Do you have a shop or offer a service? Do you advise other people how to do any of the above? Do you create materials or programme software to deliver processes? Likelihood is you are actually creating IP every week and don’t realise it.

Let’s use an example. Think of a small, independent coffee shop.
What is it called? (Its brand?)
What does it do to distinguish itself from other shops? The design, menus, layout and the way it services its customers – all these could be copyrighted! Not really very easy to protect, but still recognisable as adding value. If you came to sell the business that would be the knowhow people would want to buy. If you walk into one of the large, branded coffee-chains outlets, without consciously knowing it, I suspect between the colour scheme, uniform, product names, chairs and tables, the font on the menus, even the layout and use of space will distinguish which brand you are experiencing. That brand will be aiming to attract the consumers it wants and would expect a degree of protection if someone was to come along and ape all those brand cues.
Then there are the Signature drinks – the special recipes and processes that make a drink for that shop particular to it (signature). What if it’s a good drink that people want to have the recipe for and copy? It might have a great name. Consumers might want to buy it and take it home? They might want to be able to buy it and consume at home? Could you have created a new Innocent, Coke, Pepsi, etc?
Frappuccino, the Starbucks take on a Frappé is its branded take on a drink it wants to make synonymous with its shops. So it’s registered and protected. If you tried to make a Frappuccino you might find the weight of Starbucks upon you. The point is, Starbucks has recognised it has created some IP and decided sto protect it. Is it the law or the branding that does that best?
Trademarks, tend to be for protecting your company name or the high-level drinks and products. Copyright, that fact that you declare you’re writing words, processes etc. that you recognise as being yours and that copying them would infringe your copyright- that means you might need a solicitor to help explain to someone how they infringed your property, which they might not want to happen, especially if it’s done in a courtroom!
So, IP, the thinking you did, converted into a protectable revenue stream for the future.

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