Milk Powder Restrictions

Most of the major retailers have introduced customer restrictions on the purchase of infant formula.  See this BBC report. The restrictions also apply in their Irish divisions.

Although the last month mightn’t testify to it, Ireland has an advantage when it comes to a key factor in the production of high-quality powdered cow’s milk – a generally mild, moist climate conducive to grass growth.

When thinking about the future one question that will always perplex is “where will the growth come from?”.  The removal of EU quota restrictions on milk production in 2015 is one potential source but 15,000 additional jobs may be overstating it.

Perhaps the Irish Dairy Board, which today announced €2 billion of sales for 2012,  would consider adding a new product to its Kerrygold range.

21 replies on “Milk Powder Restrictions”

90% of cows are fed grass in Ireland. A huge advantage considering the way corn and soya prices are going.

Ireland should do more to sell quality.

Danone, the French food company, has two baby food plans in Ireland: Wexford and Macroom.

EU intervention was a handy earner at one stage; the margin on milk has been low and Glanbia, the biggest processor seemed to be more keen on acquiring cheese factories in the US where before it’s recent arrangements, it was getting 42% of its revenues.

Arla, the Danish/Swedish cooperative has a strong presence in several European markets and is putting a lot of focus on em markets.

The European Commission that there is growing competition on world dairy markets. “Due to more dynamic developments in the world market the EU will gradually lose world market share, though it still account for around 31% of global exports in 2022,” it said late last year.

@ Michael,

I think the Danone facilities are at different levels. The Macroom plant produces the base milk powder as an ingredient, while the Wexford facility is engaged in processing and packaging the final products. They have expanded both. There are numerous other milk powder facilities throughout the country.

Milk powder restrictions are an excellent idea.

Baby PR girl #1 was fed on it and ballooned. Baby PR Girl #2 wasn’t and enjoyed excellent health and weight from day 1. Fortunately, we got #1 off it in time and normality resumed. It should be banned. There’s something not right there imho.

//rant over

Economically speaking, milk powder is great for Ireland. I believe we have 15% of GLOBAL sales of formula and yes, all due to our fabulous grass. (though not a blade of it now, with this dreadful weather).

Morally of course it’s evil and should be restricted. I b/f my bouncing boys, (mostly*) for 5 months (and wore myself out in the process) but the REAL trick is not to get sucked (fnar) into buying the powder after 12 months. This is where the “demand creation” side of marketing is truly awesome. They have “Growing up” milk, and “toddler” milk. After 1 year, regular milk is fine. The whole 1+, 2+ lines are totally superfluous products and you must instruct your wives to stop buying them now.

Also on the evils of milk marketing front, did you know that Cow&Gate and Aptamil are not only both made by Danone, but contain the EXACT same ingredients, (read the label). The difference in them is solely branding, and ergo price. Aptamil is for middle class moms, and C&G is working class. (hence Aptamil is more expensive).

But fo the sake of the economy it is very good if other people buy lots of formula.

*okok I cracked at 11 weeks (every time) and introduced ONE bottle. It all gets very competitive.

So, it has come to this. We’re rationing food now. Another stunning success from the fine people who brought you the Free Market and Globalisation.

How long before all the flakes in charge screw up so completely that we just have another famine altogether? How long, seriously? Will the economists recommend keeping the ports open and allowing the general population to starve again?

Am I being hyperbolic? After Cyprus, I just don’t know anymore.


Ireland should do more to sell quality.

What, like the quality of our beef/horse burgers? Give me a break. God only knows what’s going on at the dairy processing plants in this country.

Food is a real class signifier these days. I wonder where the contempt for breastfeeding came from as well. Not swish enough for the modern project?

It came from industrialisation. Breast feeding is an agricultural way of life.

1) You need the baby with you all the time
and more importantly
2) you need the extended family to help. It’s the mother’s job to feed the baby. The other women need to help the mother.

When the labour shifted from the farm to the factory, domestic inputs had to be reduced.

Industrialisation required mobile nuclear family units who could rear children independently of the “village”.

Throw in the marketing and the history of wet-nursing and the labouring classes were quickly persuaded that breast-feeding was agricultural, which became synonymous with backward and TA DA breast feeding like every other health issue is now a class issue. Upper middle class over-informed women crying because they have no idea that it’s impossible to feed their child AND have their hair brushed and make-up on AND have the house clean to magazine standards AND be thinking about going back to the office, but if Marissa can do it why can’t they, they must be a FAILURE.

And the working class women brush off the bullying (as they see it) of health professionals and dismiss the entire notion of all that breast feeding nonsense and go YUCK and their babies set off on the path of lesser health.

But an industry is born! Woo hoo for capitalism….

Great post Sarah .

I think formula is so heavily marketed as well . Especially after the news in countries like France and CH. Never during Champions League matches. Very strange , that. And then in maternity hospitals. You need to know what’s going on to withstand it.

The other thing that goes with formula is of course the caesarian industry.

Butter, another milk product, sells here for 0.95 Euro a (250 g) piece. Kerry comes at 1.65. In Norway you have to pay 6. Some need to get more competitive.

Due to competitive large, formerly socialist farms, Germany has even become an exporter of grain.

@Sarah Carey

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be on this blog one day talking about you breast feeding. Crikey. We’ve broken some new ground there 🙂

If I were in charge of Ireland I would have the burger workers retrained (slovenia could take the business) and focus relentlessly on quality food where margins are far higher. A kilo of Irish fillet sells for 100 euro in switzerland. The quality is off the scale compared to the yank corn fed stuff they buy. Ireland should aim for the premium end of the market. There is great grass, traceability , loads of potential. Next start thinking about AOC style branding . So much.of the food in continental supermarkets is industrialised to death.

@PR Guy

And it’s still economics!

I think there should be an entire thread devoted to the economics of feminism, or how women’s free labour was converted into cash and added to GDP. The provision of milk is only the start of it. As Seafoid alluded to Caesarians, someone should put a cash figure on that. Childcare and care of the elderly are others.

Incidentally, despite Avon’s collapse, sales of cosmetics tend to hold up during recession. Has anyone done a thesis of the contribution of women’s spending to the economy, a compare and contrast between boom and bust?

@Sarah Carey

“Has anyone done a thesis….. ”

Your comments always make me think (and laugh). Thank you.

I always thought there was a PhD to be had looking at the work of women and the contribution they made to economies during war years (and the success of the ‘war effort’ of course).

I am damn sure (posit) we wouldn’t be where we are today in Europe without the work of women (in the ‘Allies’ anyway?) during the war years. Would be interesting to compare that with what women in Germany did at the same time.

It was “the difference that made a difference” I reckon and I like to think they were hugely responsible for saving democracy in Europe (not to detract at all from the fact the men went off to fight and lost their lives but I hope you know what I mean).

I think it would be an interesting area to study if you had the time/motivation and would reveal some fascinating individual stories (anthropology and all that).

Actually, why don’t you do a PhD while you are off (I presume you are still away from full time work? I’m out of touch with things in Ireland at the moment)?

As for your comment on another thread about revealing my identity for such trivial baubles as Heineken cup final tickets…. I don’t know if you ‘get out much’ these days but if you are at some event in Dublin in the future (book launch, opening of an envelope, financial services corporate garbage lie-fest thing or whatever) I will spot you and tell you who I am.

Alternatively, send me 4 tickets to the Heineken cup final and I will tell you anyway….. and if it’s in a private box (would be nice – he’s a very important client who I’ve booked flights and hotel for + wife already….. but no damn tickets so far apart from terrace tickets to the Amlin cup final the night before) and I will arrange a breast feeder for your future babies too, instead of you having to do it yourself!

The 4th ticket is for Mrs PR Guy who’s an ardent Leinster fan but a closet Munster fan when we (Leinster) don’t get to a final and they do. I keep telling her she should wear her shirt with pride but she keeps telling me she’s only really interested in winners…. Pressure on or what?!!

4! Janey. I’ll ask George Hook 🙂

Yes, I’m still part-timing, but holy god slaving round the house. The microwave must get cleaned today. The one advantage of domestic labouring is that it gives one plenty of time to reflect on the issues of the day. (ie, talking to myself and the radio).

@ Sarah Carey

A discussion of the economic benefits of a natural birth and x months of bf in terms of earning potential down the line would be great as well. Some people just look at the numbers.

I met an amazing midwife from England once. She said everyone is different and has different needs. Sometimes all she can do is hold the woman’s hand. I wonder what price they could put on that.

Another good one would be the economic benefits of developing a decent family communication style.

Yep, can testify to the hand holding! Nearly broke the fingers of the poor midwife on the last one. But it works, I was *not* letting go.


Cow & Gate dominated the market in Ireland starting in the late forties. A strong advertising campaign emphasising science and modernity over the old fashioned peasant life style. C & W had all the essential vitamins and minerals which resulted in contented babies that slept through the night. Mothers wanting to do the best for their babies were blatantly conned.

It only got worse, my mother used to say women’s liberation, they are now free to abandon the baby and go out to work after 90 days, and that is progress. With strong support from my mother my wife was entitled to seven years maternity leave. Baby formula was looked upon as a poisonous chemical concoction by my wife. A friend of ours had baby milk confiscated by Homeland Security in the US, two days pumping down the drain.

As far as I can tell now according to my daughter two years breast feeding is the optimum. Her son at two years was well able to talk and he called it nap time as in it’s my nap time. There were other phrases that he could have used in public much to my relief.

@Sarah Carey

“The one advantage of domestic labouring is that it gives one plenty of time to reflect”

I do all my best thinking when I’m ironing my shirts (I can assure you, Mrs PR Guy doesn’t offer to iron them for me). It’s the equivalent of meditation.

I’m impressed! Particularly with Mrs PR 🙂

On the other hand, I had a go at the microwave and followed all the advice (bowls of water, cut up lemons, vinegar etc) and it didn’t work and I got irrationally upset. ( I couldn’t get steam going?? Is it broken??) But I was getting upset even in advance, because if it HAD worked, I’d have been saying – that’s Just Great Sarah, the major success of your day is a clean microwave.

Off to re-read The Women’s Room.

I’m with PR Guy!

When Mrs B and the kids are away, I cook a nice meal for myself, open a bottle of wine, put on a CD (loud), and then I could happily iron for Ireland.

Incidentally, Mrs B was an enthusiastic member of La Leche. No asthma, eczema, nappy rashes, throat infections, very rare visits to the Doctor (if any at all) – the list of benefits of b/f go on and on. Not to mention no nightfeeding by Dads. When our second saw my niece bottle feeding her new born son he was looking on in amazement at this strange act and innocently asked: “Do her b***s not work?” to the mortification of us all.

Breastfeeding mothers encounter huge hostility in Ireland. In one instance a woman literally crossed the street to berate Mrs B for ‘being such a martyr’ and she should ‘stop being so hard on herself’. Personally, I believe the ditching of breastfeeding in Ireland was/is because Irish people are terrified of not seeming to be modern. There’s a persuasive argument that, contrary to popular belief, Irish people are actually the least conservative in Europe and take to every new fad with a zeal unknown elsewhere.

Comments are closed.