(3 minute read)
Who are they and what do they do?
Lancashire Farm is a natural yoghurt company that has been operating as a family company since 1984. They currently source milk from 35 different farms around Lancashire, and are aiming to become the no.1 natural yoghurt brand in the UK (Source: lancashirefarm.com & Business Manchester September 2018).
Early this year, Lancashire Farm underwent a brand makeover by BGN and launched the Free Range product.
What makes this sustainable?
Funnily enough it’s not about the Free Range commitment. Instead the sustainable element is the business’ deep understanding of their supply chain. That depth of thinking and understanding allows Lancashire Farm to predict risks and identify opportunities because they have a personal relationship with their suppliers. This allows Lancashire Farm to:
Manage the origin and integrity of their product through their decision-making processes and supplier requirements;Increase consumer understanding of supply chains, through their consumer-friendly website; and support the Lancashire economy through their partnerships with local farms.
What’s the business angle?
Part of it has already been stated: Lancashire Farm have an ambition to become the no.1 natural yoghurt brand in the UK. In order to do this they have decided to work with their supply chain to commit to an entirely free range product and are the first UK yoghurt makers to do so.
This results in a framework by which they can manage brand and business risk in their supply chain through a strong policy statement;a company culture that is likely to foster innovation in their supply chain, where it contributes towards that strong policy statement and helps Lancashire Farm maintain its position as a market leader; a product differentiator in a highly competitive market; and a clear branding and marketing opportunity to highlight their free range credentials. Initial figures suggest sales have risen 30% since the launch earlier this year (Source: Business Manchester, September 2018).
We have seen other products do extremely well using this ‘strong statement’ approach. 2 that spring to mind immediately are:
Ben and Jerry’s, with their three-part mission to “deliver fantastic products”, “sustainable finance growth” and “make the world a better place”; and
Innocent Drinks, with their mission to make “natural, delicious, healthy drinks that help people live well and die old”
For obvious reasons not all businesses can lead in their sector, but I’m really excited that Lancashire Farm believes so completely in the competitive advantage afforded to them by their policy statement that they have made the decision for their entire supply chain to be certified Free Range.
If a business has a strong policy and mission statement it provides a good platform for the inclusion of sustainability principles into the decision-making process.
The good news is that most businesses have some sort of mission statement – whether it is publicly known or not (or even whether it is known internally!). The great news is that sustainability principles can help frame and deliver on a business mission in ways that provide significant business benefit.
Lancashire Farm Dairies have provided me with a quote in response to my article:
“Developing the Free Range statement and policy was as much about the commitment and the mission as it was the practical implementation of it. Working with our producers first hand has been absolutely crucial in delivering on this proposition. As a business we’re extremely producer centric, we see them as a key extension of the business and we treat them as such.” Jack Morrison, Brand Manager, Lancashire Farm Dairies
I am a sustainability coach with 10 years experience in the sustainability sector. I can help your business understand how to embed sustainable thinking into your supply chain decision-making. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.