The new negotiations that have brought APBO and Bel Group together in recent weeks confirm the determination of both parties to pursue a win-win partnership model. By providing visibility on the price and volume of milk collected for 2024, this agreement is an undeniable asset for the 700 member farms in the management and responsible transition of farms producing the first ingredient in Babybel®, Kiri®, Boursin® and Cousteron® cheeses.
Since 2017, the partnership between APBO and Bel Group, a pioneer that predates the French EGAlim laws, has been an unprecedented initiative, as much for its content as for its longevity. Thus, each year the two parties define a milk purchase price for the whole of the coming year, giving themselves the means to project and act for the concrete transformation of agricultural practices for more sustainable milk production and food.
A price based on projected operating costs for 2024
For this 7th agreement, the price is based, as last year, on changes in farm production costs, as well as on an increase in remuneration in line with the estimated rise in the SMIC (minimum wage) for 2024.
- For “Mon BB Lait®” prize: The new agreement provides for an average annual 38/32 reference price for conventional milk of €456/1000 liters, including the €21/1000L premium for GMO-free feed and access to pasture for cows, which benefits 100% of APBO farms.
Note that for farms that choose to voluntarily deploy the Bovaer® feed supplement to reduce enteric methane emissions from cows, Bel will increase the “Mon BB Lait®” price by an optional premium of +€10/1000 liters over the period of use, starting in the second half of 2024.
- For “Mon BB Lait®” Organic: the new agreement provides for an average annual 38/32 reference price for organic milk of €525/1000 liters.
These prices cover all 421 million liters of milk to be delivered to Bel by APBO milk producers, a volume 6 million liters higher than in 2023.
Pre-defined renegotiation clauses in the event of variations in production costs
Faced with changing economic conditions, both parties have included price revision clauses in the agreement, along with the conditions for their implementation. The aim of these clauses is to ensure greater responsiveness in adjusting milk prices in the event of major variations in production costs. These clauses are a concrete expression of the Bel Group’s determination to work towards a better distribution of value throughout the chain, and of the solidarity between milk producers and manufacturers in the face of changing economic conditions.
APBO and Bel Group accelerate the reduction of carbon impact, in particular through the deployment of Bovaer® among volunteer milk producers
This partnership between APBO and Bel Group supports an ambitious plan to reduce the carbon footprint of farms. As part of this plan, 100% of APBO farms have already completed a CAP’2ER® carbon diagnosis, climate awareness training and a personalized action plan. In addition, a network of fifteen pilot farms is actively engaged in improving techniques to, among other things, develop their protein autonomy and limit methane emissions.
To further reduce our carbon footprint and play a full part in the environmental transition, APBO and Bel Group recently conducted a pioneering test to reduce enteric methane emissions from dairy cows. Conducted on five dairy farms, the pilot demonstrated the ease of implementation of Bovaer®, the feed supplement for dairy cows, in real-life farming conditions. A genuine lever for the development of an even more sustainable dairy industry, the deployment of Bovaer® will be offered to voluntary APBO milk producers from the 2nd half of 2024. Bel will cover the additional cost of implementing this solution, up to €10/1000 liters.
Frédéric Dorilleau, President of APBO: “The partnership with Groupe Bel, initiated 7 years ago, enables the 700 APBO farms to work serenely, according to Mon BB Lait® specifications defined by the producers, around practices that respect the environment and animal welfare. This agreement, which is good for producers, also demonstrates everyone’s responsibility in an inflationary context. I’d also like to salute the Bel Group’s renewed commitment to volumes; this is a strong indicator for us: there is a real market and real outlets for dairy products, and this is reassuring for the future of French dairy farmers.”
Anne-Sophie Carrier, General Manager, Bel France: “For over seven years, our APBO partners have been supplying 100% of the milk used to manufacture some of our flagship brands such as Babybel®, Kiri®, Boursin® and Cousteron®. Behind the co-construction of this milk price, there is a pioneering partnership, a project for value creation, fairer remuneration and sustainable transformation of the sector to offer our consumers the choice of responsible, committed food. This agreement bears witness to a shared spirit of responsibility through the increase in milk volumes, the introduction of price review clauses and the acceleration of ambitious commitments to the food transition. We will continue to promote this committed model to all players in the value chain, particularly those in the retail sector, with whom we intend to intensify our cooperation to create the food model of tomorrow.”
 With dsm-firmenich, in partnership with Institut de l’Elevage (Idele)