“Sustainability leads to longevity.”
This is how Marcel Vantuyn, Beemster’s Managing Director, begins our conversation about their Farmers’ Cooperative’s position among cheese consumers.
“Growth and modernization are only possible if they lay down a path for future generations, and if they do more good and less harm,” he continued. “Since sustainability is in our Beemster DNA, it’s only natural for us to help resolve what works and what doesn’t. We must continue to improve upon our initiatives with a 360° approach.”
This 360° approach means that Beemster has taken its sustainability initiatives beyond just farming and cheese production.
“We built the greenest dairy in the world, but we didn’t call it a day and stop there,” Marcel noted. “Last year, we planted the first miles of the Beemster Bee Corridor—which starts from our dairy and runs through the fields of some of the family farms that make up the Beemster Co-op. Our Bee Corridor is full of native plants and wildflowers that foster important pollinators. Our farmers have installed renewable green energy—through solar panels and wind turbines—that powers not only their farms, but also brings green energy to their communities. So you see, sustainability is not just a slogan for Beemster. To our member farmers and everyone else at Beemster, sustainability is much larger than our brand. For Beemster, sustainability is real, it’s tangible, and it’s visible.”
The Beemster Co-op also landed the #1 spot on the Sustainable Brand Index, Europe’s largest independent study on sustainability. This is just another advantage of partnering with Beemster: Consumers really value the comprehensive sustainability program behind Beemster products.
The importance of sustainability is undeniable, but the conversation also prompted me to ask questions about why this sustainable distinction is important for buyers to note.
“This distinction is bestowed on Beemster by consumers. This wasn’t decided by a professional cheese panel. Instead, it was consumers identifying what values are important to them and then recognizing Beemster as the brand that aligns with these values,” he explained, laying down an important element with respect to brand loyalty. If it doesn’t resonate with consumers, then it won’t be part of their purchase decisions at store level.
“That’s what sets this distinction apart from others. It demonstrates that Beemster is actively listening to shoppers and we respond with genuine actions that have a positive and lasting impact,” Marcel expressed. “When consumers see that we listen to what’s important to them, they are more loyal, and they are more likely to recommend our brand, because they want to support the work we’re doing.”
In order to make sure that shoppers—and ultimately, retailers, too—understand how Beemster is becoming more sustainable, the Co-op has enacted several strategies.
“We have an integrated communication plan that includes both online and offline strategies. However, the most important—and the most effective—is trade marketing. For example, we developed a flyer to share with our customers and that opens-up dialogue with them. We’re excited to share this news, and then we have an opportunity to discuss how our sustainability initiatives are aligned with our customers,” Marcel concluded. “That gives us new opportunities for education and training around the Beemster brand. From there, the rock stars of the deli—the cheesemongers—are empowered with more valuable information to share with shoppers. The more information that we can give them about what makes Beemster unique and a great brand—in addition to being a delicious cheese—the more confidence and trust they build with their shoppers.”
As we continue to uncover what makes cheese companies the ones to watch out for, keep reading Deli Market News.