What on earth is the answer to the dairy problem?

I sometimes wonder if we’re going to have a dairy industry in a few years’ time. It’s perfectly possible to imagine a Britain in which fresh milk is a thing of the past, with UHT in your afternoon tea and on your cornflakes, and all cheese and dairy products being imported by international food companies. It’s possible to imagine it, but it’s impossible to like the idea. Dairy farming makes an immense contribution to our landscape. Our dairy processing industry makes some of the world’s greatest cheeses and that’s an industry that’s taken off in recent years. UHT milk is, by and large, disgusting stuff.

Quotas are about to end and it should be a case of moving forward to a more competitive dairy industry, exporting around the world and making a growing contribution to our landscape, our economy and our diet. Instead, the dairy sector seems to have more problems now than ever before.

I don’t know what the answer is. Several people I know have suggested more effective generic advertising to raise milk consumption. I’m not convinced. I realise that the average Herbert in the street is shockingly unaware of the benefits of dairy products, having been given decades of utterly stupid misinformation, and it would be nice to correct it, and very nice if much of the diet advice handed out by the authorities in their nannying moods weren’t such complete and utter rubbish. But I’m still a devotee of the wetting yourself while wearing a dark suit theory of generic campaigns. It might give you a warm feeling, but no-one else notices anything very much.

With that rather negative view I wish the dairy industry a prosperous and successful, starting soon.

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