Local, organic milk -- is it worth it?

KookyforCoffee

New member
Mar 26, 2007
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I'm planning on opening shop in a year or two and I REALLY want to use a small, local, organic farm for our milk. It is important to me use the best possible milk, and even better if I can do so supporting a local farm and cows that actually live outside and eat grass. Needless to say, I'll only do it if I can fit it into my P&L somehow!

Does anyone else feel the same way? Obviously it is expensive! Is it worth it? Do you charge it back to your customers and do they have opinions on this?

Thanks!
 

Davec

New member
Oct 18, 2006
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Old England (UK)
KookyforCoffee said:
Does anyone else feel the same way? Obviously it is expensive! Is it worth it? Do you charge it back to your customers and do they have opinions on this? Thanks!

We have an expression....it's just pennies in the cup. If you grade all your ingredients worrying about pennies in the cup....you can be as good as starschmucks.

I gave a coffee workshop about a year ago and there was a commercial cafe owner there (specialist coffee). The guy couldn't believe how the coffee I had bought along poured, when he tasted it, he was speechless. When he regained the power of speech he said to me....this is fantastic, my coffee doesn't pour like this or taste like this. I asked him how much he was paying for his coffee and he said £8 per Kg. I said this would cost him about £12-£14 per kg.

He immediately bought my entire supply (I was dabbling with some commercial roasting at the time). I asked him why he was willing to spend nearly twice as much on the coffee and he said he sold a cup for £1.80 and the difference in cost to have coffee like this was "pennies in the cup". I asked him why he hand't done this before....he said "i never realised there could be that much difference, everyone told me to just buy commercial coffee at £6-8 per kg".

Pay extra for your coffee....if you think the milk is better, pay extra for that....it's only going to cost you 15-40c per cup at most (even do a smaller latte, go for flavour rather than quantity).
 

equus007

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Apr 4, 2006
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Austin, Tx
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Pay extra and advertise the hell out of the fact that you choose to use a local dairy. The only concern I would have would be consistancy in the milk but it wouldn't be enough to stop me. I try to use local whenever possible for several reasons.

1. product is fresher and generaly has less "non-foodstuffs" added

2. supplier is more responsive to complaints and willing to work with new businesses...they need you too

3. supports the locals which means your locals have more money in their pockets for things like a nice latte

4. quicker to respond to "flash" or "hot shot" orders(emergencies) which will happen...several times.

5. suppliers available personaly should, god forbid, something really bad happen instead of having to approach a board of corporate lawyers.
 

CafeBlue

New member
Dec 8, 2006
121
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Toronto
KookyforCoffee said:
...I REALLY want to use a small, local, organic farm for our milk. It is important to me use the best possible milk, and even better if I can do so supporting a local farm and cows .... I'll only do it if I can fit it into my P&L somehow!...

You already answered your own questions, and answered appropriately.
You REALLY are passionate about it, you have credible reasons, you can articulate the reasons and benefits to your customers. Of course you will charge appropriately...your costs must be factored into your retail pricing, or else you risk not being in business to serve your loyal customers long-term. Quality-minded customers are willing to pay more in order to receive more. You still need to make sure that they receive good value for money.
Furthermore; you have identified important points of differentiation to set yourself apart from the competition. While the majority of the industry defaults their latte recipe to 2% Lowfat milk from commercial dairies, those of us who use and promote local food ingredients and hold a higher standard can expect greater loyalty, increased gross sales and higher average tickets.
 

morrisn

New member
Mar 27, 2006
126
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I am not sur what the difference in the milk price is but if you sold your drinks for a dime more than the mermaid and let the customers know why your drink is better you should more than cover the cost difference.
 
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KookyforCoffee

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Mar 26, 2007
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Thanks everyone, this is what I needed to hear -- sounds like many shops are already doing this, just none in the city where I am planning on opening -- a good thing I suppose!

One more question -- to those of you who do use smaller family farms for your dairy -- did you negotiate your milk prices, is is possible? I certainly not out to nickle and dime the little guy, but I'm the little guy too.

Thanks again.
 

John P

New member
Jan 5, 2007
1,045
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Salt Lake City
Be upfront, tell them WHY you want to use local, and tell them you will be happy to promote "We exclusively use Wangotango Dairy" for them. Your promotion of their dairy in addition to purchasing their product should be worth a little break in price.
 

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