Cooperation at eye level: why the Lidl cooperation with Bioland offers long-term opportunities for all

Since the start of the cooperation with Bioland, the leading association for organic farming in Germany and South Tyrol, in October 2018, Lidl is bringing high-quality and domestic Bioland products on a broad basis to society through the gradual conversion of the organic range. The prerequisites for this development are producers and producers who operate in accordance with Bioland guidelines and thus ensure an adequate supply of domestic organic products. But before a farmer can become a member of Bioland, he must change his business to 100 percent organic and operate according to the strict Bioland criteria: State Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Friedlinde Gurr-Hirsch MdL at the Bioland Dairy Farm of Ralf Bund in Wertheim, Baden-Württemberg, informed herself today about measures to switch from conventional requirements to Bioland criteria: “The demands placed on agriculture are increasing so that the companies have to set themselves up for the future. Quality and sustainability are two crucial components, “says Gurr-Hirsch.

How the production of organic produce differs from EU organic milk

“When it comes to milk production, we Bioland farmers have a clear rule: our cows should go to the pasture whenever possible. Because the spout in the countryside not only ensures healthier animals and a species-appropriate attitude but also for better milk, “says milk farmer Ralf Bund. In addition, the cows have their own feeding and a moored berth with straw or sawdust. The exclusive feeding with silage is prohibited, instead outweighs pasture and green fodder. Calves are reared with milk for at least three months. The aim is also to give the animals a long life and to provide adequate milk yield. “For our cows, we focus on life rather than short-term peak performance. For example, a Bioland cow averages 15 to 20 percent less milk a year than a conventional dairy cow. The aim of the Bioland farmers is to maintain the performance of their cows without overstraining them, “adds Bund. On the other hand, in an EU organic farm, dairy cows are also allowed to go pastureland after availability, but bedding with natural material is only mandatory in rest areas and feeding with silage is not regulated.

“Compared to conventional or EU organic criteria, the fulfillment of the Bioland guidelines is associated with additional expenses, which we reward with fair purchase prices. It is important to us that the farmers and all parties involved in the supply chain can make a sufficient living for their business “, says Jan Bock, Purchasing Manager at Lidl Germany. “At the same time, with our retail prices, we are making it easier for as many customers and consumers as possible to choose high-quality domestic organic products in order to finally eliminate the share of organic products in the retail sector through increased demand and enable other farmers to make sustainable changes.” 

Partnership at eye level

Up until now milk producers and processors have been the main beneficiaries of the cooperation between Lidl and Bioland, as they have been given new and lasting sales opportunities by converting all domestic dairy products of the Lidl own brand “BioOrganic” to Bioland quality. But in other areas, such as the fruit and vegetable assortment, other articles will be gradually available with the green Bioland brand, giving farmers the opportunity to convert their operations into the future.

“For the necessary greening of our agriculture, it is very important to reward local, high-quality organic and also to create a broad stage. The cooperation enables us to further develop organic farming and to help shape the distribution of our products in the interests of our producers and producers. As a partner at eye level, we regularly exchange information about current developments on the producer and retail side and are working on further ways of getting high-quality and domestic organic food into the shopping basket of more and more consumers “, summarizes Jan Plagge, President Bioland eV