A response from Dairy Crest and do Kallo stock cube wrappers contain plastic?

I recently switched to buying milk in glass bottles from the milkman as it is plastic free, organic, unhomogenised, supermarket free (ish – whether or not Dairy Crest is supermarketesque is another question) and at least British if not local. However I was concerned about whether the farmers were being paid a fair price for the milk I bought and decided to ask Dairy Crest (who I’m buying the milk from) directly as I outlined in this article here.  This is what they said.
I will have to take them at their word, but I was disappointed over their lack of transparency over this issue.
I have also been wondering if the stock cubes I buy have plastic in the wrapper, so I tweeted Kallo as I usually buy their brand of stock cubes.  They replied with this.  
Before I got their reply I also did my own experiment – I soaked the wrapper in water and then separated out the layers and found the thin layer of plastic on top of the foil. I have heard this method can be good if you want to recycle the different layers, but I just ended up with a bit of a mess…
I’m sure Kallo are not alone in the way they package their stock cubes and I am quite happy to live without stock cubes. I often substitute them with yeast extract because it is sugar free and it is one of the key ingredients in stock cubes.  However I have yet to find plastic free yeast extract – although the Meridian brand does come in a glass jar with a metal lid, but the lid is plastic lined. I  have tried making my own stock in the past, but it has never tasted anything like the stuff you buy and other members of my family want their rice and pasta cooked with stock.  I have asked Kallo if they will consider rethinking their stock cube packaging, but in the meantime I need to start looking for plastic free stock – any suggestions anyone?  I also need to update my going single use plastic free to do list with stock cubes (read more here)!
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6 thoughts on “A response from Dairy Crest and do Kallo stock cube wrappers contain plastic?

  • Concerning Dairy Crest and the prices they pay: Have you asked the Ethical Consumer Magazine? I would expect them to have more reliable (honest) information than you can expect from the company. To just say: "Well, farmers must be happy to supply us otherwise they wouldn't." seems a bit simplistic. They might not have much choice.

  • This piqued my curiosity, I tried with the stock cubes I get at the health food store, and the paper and foil separated easily but the paper just got soggy. When I tried to tease it apart to see if there were more layers, it just ripped. It's not completely untreated as it held its shape, but maybe it's just waxed – or you are just on top of the really fine motor skills! Regardless I'm not sure how helpful it is, as I live in Denmark, but you can write to the producer and ask, and maybe they have stockists in the uk? It's called rapunzel and their website is rapunzel.de.

  • Why single out milk? The laws of supply and demand surely apply just as much to milk as to anything else? This puzzles me. Farmers have long been subsidised where other industries have not (I'm not talking about the rights or wrongs of subsidies, just pointing it out). They used to get paid to produce more than enough milk, which is not sustainable in a free market, as well as being inherently wasteful. I know you think the response from the company is a bit vague, but markets can and do fluctuate rapidly. If there were fewer dairy farmers, milk prices would go up and the farmers would have more of an ability to raise their prices. Maybe there are too many, as a hang-over from the old days when they were paid to produce more than enough. All this is of course, as you rightly point out, because of the dominance of supermarkets and, more importantly, big businesses. What can we as individuals do about it? I think you're on the right track, definitely.

    My husband did his degree in Agricultural Economics, my father is an Economics professor, and I'm studying International Development and Statistics. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, the more I learn about the environment and the way economies work, the more I realise there are no easy answers. It is never simple. As a human in a very skewed, consumerist society, I try to make the best choice possible and not beat myself up over all the unknowns and un-knowables.

    I love making chicken stock when we have a chicken carcass, but as we're cutting down on meat this is not often. I would like to try making my own more often. The more homemade food we have, the better. I just have to be careful not to overdo it because of my health, hence why I too end up using Kallo stock cubes. Herbamare is a nice addition if you can find it.

  • I did have a few go's at separating out the layers until I found the plastic and it wasn't too easy to spot… I think unfortunately most stock cube wrappers have plastic in them…

  • You are right Sandy, why single out milk. The only reason I did was because I had recently switched to buying organic, unhomogenised milk from the milkman in glass bottles, which also happens to be one of the most expensive ways to buy milk. In an ideal world it would also be fair trade as well and I thought I would ask the question…

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