The grasslands in the Netherlands are home to a large range of bird species – therefore called meadow birds – who use the meadows for breeding, feeding and resting. Due to several causes, for example the intensification of farming activities, their population has been drastically reduced. The mission of the new dairy brand Weide Weelde is to counteract this development by supporting more sustainable and bird-friendly dairy farming activities. The initiative won the 8th Social Voting term, so we talked to Mirjam van Ginkel from Weide Weelde to find out more about this initiative.
Congrats on winning this social voting term and getting a blue ticket, how do you feel about that?
“Thanks so much. It’s great to see that so many people support what Weide Weelde is standing for. We are excited to be at the Accenture Innovation Summit and reach even more people with our mission and our dairy products.”
What’s your secret behind winning this term?
“Basically, our passionate farmers who take care of the cows and meadow birds. Besides that, a few weeks ago, we got the opportunity to tell our story at the Natuurtop. During that event, we called upon all participants to vote for us to win an Accenture Innovation Award. And, of course, we also reached out to all our colleagues and customers who follow us on Facebook.”
Why did you sign up for AIA in the first place?
“We want to increase our visibility and awareness along the Dutch population. The Accenture Innovation Awards are a wonderful opportunity to tell our story and meet potential partners.”
Could you briefly explain what Weide Weelde is all about?
“Our story starts at the Boerengilde in the north of the Netherlands. This is a collective of 12 farmers who take an extra step to increase biodiversity and particularly to support meadow birds. The number of meadow birds has been decreasing a lot in the past years and the farmers want to contribute to getting them back to The Netherlands. One of the things they do is grow more flowers and herbs in the meadows. That makes it more attractive for birds. The farmers also mow the grass later to give the birds more time to breed.”
“The milk of those farmers is then further processed as a separate stream and we make several dairy products from it, like milk and yoghurt. Next to that, consumers can directly support meadow birds by buying our products. For every sold product, 2 cents go to our foundation to support projects focused on increasing the number of meadow birds. The initiatives of Weide Weelde are supported by the Dutch NGO for the protection of birds Vogelbescherming Nederland. We also make sure that the farmers get a price premium for their milk.”
What is the impact you want to have in the coming years, where do you see Weide Weelde in 3-5 years?
“Within 3-5 years our product assortment will be a lot bigger. And we hope that Weide Weelde will be available in supermarkets everywhere in The Netherlands, so every consumer can support the meadow birds by buying Weide Weelde. We also want to become active in the wholesale market. A broader availability will hopefully lead to higher sales. That would again increase the number of meadow bird friendly fields supported by our Weide Weelde foundation. After all, we want to stop the decrease of number of meadow birds. That’s the reason why we’re, together with our farmers, working on this.”
Are you also working together with large companies?
“Yes, we’re working on it! We started in the retail sector, especially with large supermarkets like Jumbo, Albert Heijn and Poiesz. But now we also reach out to companies to talk about the opportunities to sell our products in their canteens, for instance. That will be one of our priorities in the coming months and years and I hope it will increase our visibility and reach a lot.”
The Summit is in a month, how are you going to convince the jury of your concept?
“Weide Weelde is a unique concept in the dairy sector. It is unique that our 12 farmers are taking this extra step to promote biodiversity and bring back the meadow birds. It’s unique that our products are made from a separate milk stream from these farmers. And it is unique that consumers can join our mission directly by buying our products. This distinguishes us from all other dairy products available in The Netherlands. Collaboration at its best.”