BlogFree Range Dairy | Coffee and Cows Campaign

Free Range Dairy | Coffee and Cows Campaign


Last year we started a Coffee and Cows campaign off the back of a new YouGov Poll looking at Coffee Shop Milk to find out if customers care as much about where coffee shops source their milk as their beans? The poll found that 84% of people care as much about where they source their milk as the coffee beans. One year on, there’s been a rise in coffee shops providing plant alternatives such as oat and coconut and if they are doing this for ethical reasons/customer demands, why are they not applying the same criteria to how they source their cows’ milk. The plant based alternative can cost a customer up to 40p extra per coffee but switching to milk from free range cows that graze a minimum 6 months per year could only add an extra 5p to a cup of coffee. It would make a huge difference to pasture based dairy farmers in the UK and supports dairy farming that uses a natural resource, grass, to produce great tasting milk as well as the giving the cows the freedom to graze for a minimum of 6 months per year. 

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In the UK, over 86% of people drink cows’ milk in one form or another including coffee, one of our favourite coffee drinks which is a latte which is made up of 30ml of coffee to 240ml of milk. Last year on this day, Free Range Dairy Network launched their Coffee and Cows campaign with a YouGov poll. The idea being to find out how important it was to coffee lovers that the milk in their coffee was as ethically sourced as the coffee beans.

When asked questions about the provenance of cows’ milk offered in coffee shops, the number of respondents (84%) said that it was important for them to know that the milk came from farms where cows are assured high welfare. In addition, 84% also said it was important to them that coffee shops sourced their cows’ milk from suppliers who pay a fair price to dairy farmers in the UK.

When questioned how important is it that coffee shops sourced their coffee beans from sustainable sources, using suppliers who pay a fair price to coffee growers in developing countries, the same figure 84% said this was important to them. Additionally, 89% said customer service was important as was sustainability at 76%.

Since last year there has been a rise in the number of plant-based alternatives to cows’ milk, on offer in coffee shops, with many charging up to 40p extra if you want it in your coffee. Many see plant-based alternatives as an ethical choice. But why has this growing demand for an ethical coffee experience not been widely reflected in the cows’ milk on offer as well?

An alarming rate of family farms who graze their cows are going out of business because the cost of producing cheap milk is unsustainable for these farmers. However, when asked in the YouGov poll what the maximum amount, if any, people would be willing to pay on top of the cost of a cup of coffee, if it was made with milk carrying the Pasture Promise logo, 64% of respondents said they would be willing to pay an extra 5p and above for a cup of coffee and some were prepared to pay considerably more, with 10% prepared to pay an extra 30p or more. So, here is the potential for coffee shops to help protect cows’ freedom to graze and our traditional pasture based dairy farmers by stocking Pasture Promise free range milk.

AHDB dairy producer numbers show that 277 dairy farmers have left the industry in one year.




Month on month change

Month on month % change


Year on year change

Year on year % change

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Farmers with a great product and provenance are losing out to cheap milk. Milk that will have been collected and blended, from a variety of farms, including large, intensive operations, where cows are confined indoors all year round.

Carol Lever, Director Free Range Dairy Network says

‘Coffee drinkers are also ethical shoppers, they want to know how their favourite coffee shops are helping keep cows on pasture and out of intensive dairy systems. If coffee shops are proud of their coffee beans and helping farmers in developing countries, then why can’t they do the same for pasture based family farms in the UK?’

Free Range Dairy Network calls on independent coffee shops and coffee chains such as Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Costa and others using standard milk to switch to free range milk carrying the Pasture Promise logo. Customers have said they are prepared to pay extra for a free range milk and by offering this alongside the plant based alternatives, it will offer customers the full range of ethical milk choices.

If you want your local coffee shop to stock Pasture Promise free range milk please download the leaflet and hand it in or tweet them asking for Pasture Promise free range milk with your coffee using #coffeeandcows.


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