Five North East milk processors to receive funding for packaging solutions to reduce virgin plastic
Vermont Business Journal The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC), hosted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, announces five Dairy Packaging Innovation Grant recipients. As consumer demand increases for sustainable packaging solutions, NE-DBIC has prioritized investments in projects that will reduce the use of virgin plastics and the environmental impacts of dairy products and supply chain packaging.
Grants are awarded for:
- Agri-Mark, Inc./Cabot Creamery Cooperative of Waitsfield, VT will receive $323,875 to partner with a packaging manufacturer to produce a shelf life and feasibility study comparing sustainable cheese packaging options.
- Big Picture Farm of Townsend, VT will receive $147,800 to transform their entire packaging line for their farm’s milk cheese and candies to environmentally friendly formats that are recyclable, compostable, FSC-certified and /or climate.
- Jasper Hill Cellars of Greensboro, VT will receive $127,442 to work with the University of Vermont to evaluate sustainable packaging options and their effects on sensory qualities and shelf life. They will also work with a contractor to conduct market research to understand consumer preferences for sustainable packaging branding.
- Stonyfield Farm, Inc. (Lactalis US Yogurt) of Londonberry, NH will receive $300,000 to convert their YoBaby pouches to mono-material film and lighten the pouch lid.
- Vermont Creamery, LLC (Land O’ Lakes) of Websterville, VT will receive $200,000 to convert its current fresh goat cheese retail packaging to a recycling or compost-ready facility.
These $1.1 million in funding will support dairy processors across a range of scales and product types to conduct research, package development and analyze consumer acceptability. The research and findings of these grants will be shared by all grantees to strengthen knowledge and access to new sustainable packaging solutions for the dairy industry, particularly for small and medium-sized processors.
“I am very proud of the outstanding work done by the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, which has supported the resilience and modernization of dairy since I worked to establish regional centers across the country in the 2018 Farm Bill. Project Beneficiaries like these underscore that the future of dairy is right here in Vermont and in this region,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts commented; “These investments in milk packaging look to the future. Farmers and dairy producers are always thinking about what’s next. These dollars will help the environment by making these businesses more affordable and sustainable. We look forward to seeing the new packaging come to life.”
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center provides support to dairy businesses in the Northeast region, serving eleven states from Maryland to Maine. NE-DBIC promotes the development, production, marketing and distribution of dairy products through market research, technical assistance and competitive grant rounds for dairy farmers and processors.
“This award will greatly accelerate our exploration of greener packaging options,” noted Bill Beaton, CEO of Agri-Mark/Cabot. “The findings will benefit our farmers’ own brands as well as the wider dairy industry in our collective sustainable packaging journeys.”
“The entire team at Vermont Creamery is very honored to receive this grant, which will allow us to pursue our goal of more sustainable packaging for our goat cheese faster and more widely than we would have been able to do otherwise. ,” said Eliza Leeper, Mission and Customer Manager for Vermont Creamery. “We look forward to sharing our learnings with our industry peers so we can expand the positive impact of this investment.”
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center is funded by the USDA and hosted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. To date, NE-DBIC has received $31.72 million from the USDA-AMS Dairy Business Innovation Initiative. More information about the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center at: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/dbic/.
August 18, 2022 | Montpelier, VT – Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
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