While shopping in the refrigerator section of a grocery store you may have encountered this household brand of organic whole milk. Stonyfield is a widely popular brand of organic dairy products owned by the French corporation Lactalis. Since its establishment, Stonyfield has been striving to provide the consumer with all natural and certified organic dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cream. The brand also strives to educate the consumer and producers on the importance of protecting the environment as well as sustainable farming practices. The company works to establish itself as a model business that prioritizes environmental and social responsibility rather than solely on profits. Through this review on their organic whole milk, I’ll be exploring their commitment and progress regarding these goals since this is a brand of milk that we regularly purchase within my household.
Stonyfield’s organic whole milk is made from ONLY two ingredients which are organic grade A milk and vitamin D3. The pure and natural ingredients of this milk are quite uncommon within the dairy market. Many large companies often resort to chemicals in an effort to improve taste and nutritional value in order to generate more profits. In Stonyfield’s case, their milk is collected from cows that are raised through organic farming practices and is certified organic. What it entails to be certified organic is the guarantee that over 700 chemicals including GMO ingredients, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, toxic pesticides/fertilizers, artificial flavoring, coloring, and preservatives are prohibited from use during the production/collection of the product. The prohibition of these harmful chemicals helps eliminate potential water, soil, and air pollution that may result from the use of these chemicals.
The packaging material for this product is dependent on the size you purchase. For the half gallon, the whole milk is contained within a cardboard carton while the full gallon container is made entirely of plastic. The difference in material aims to limit the amount of plastic used for packaging as the paper cartons are more recyclable and biodegradable than plastic.There are many environmental drawbacks of using plastic containers including the potential pollution by the material since it is mainly created from nonrenewable sources meaning it is non-degradable. However in an attempt to improve upon this issue , Stonyfield transitioned to using polypropylene (#5) plastic instead of the conventional high-density polyethylene (#2) plastic. The production process of polypropylene results in lower greenhouse gas emissions and resource depletion compared to high-density polyethylene. Based on the impact report published by Stonyfield, they are currently working towards a packaging portfolio made from bio-based or recyclable materials by 2030. Now that’s exciting to hear!
While the specific production process has not been stated explicitly, since Stonyfield’s organic whole milk is ultra-pasteurized it means that it has undergone a manufacturing process known as Ultra-high-temperature (UHT) processing before it is packaged and sold on store shelves. The UHT process is often utilized in order to preserve the freshness of the organic products. In this case, the UHT process would convert the usually very perishable milk into a long-shelf-life product. While this allows the milk to remain fresh for a longer period of time, it is a highly energy intensive process which is one of the primary reasons why Stonyfield’s milk production sector occupies a majority of their total energy usage as well as carbon emissions.
In order to combat this energy and environmental issue, Stonyfield has begun slowly transitioning to renewable energy sources. By 2025, Stonyfield strives to transition to a 100% renewable energy supply for their Londonderry manufacturing facility as well as 100% renewable electricity for their dairy supply chain. By 2030, they are working to reduce the carbon footprint of their operation and supply chain by up to 30% as well as establishing a carbon positive dairy supply chain. Based on their yearly impact report, it seems that they are on track to reaching that goal. Let’s hope they are able to reach these goals in the near future for the planet!
Stonyfield only sources their milk from small local family farms rather than corporate farms with large-scale operations. This allows them to promote and implement organic farming practices within their farms. Organic farming entails that the farm animals are treated with good care. Unlike corporate farms, organic family farms do not use harmful chemicals such as synthetic growth hormones on their farm animals in order to increase production. The cows are allowed to roam freely and are treated humanely. Stonyfield’s organic cows experience over 120 days per year in pasture, access to clean shelter, and fresh air. The use of antibiotics & growth hormones are prohibited on these farms in order to provide their cows with a healthy diet as well as a low-stress lifestyle. Instead, the cows enjoy a biodiverse forage-based diet that helps boost their immune system. Even if they were to get sick, herbal medicine and homeopathic remedies are used instead. Now that’s a happy cow!
If you wish to learn more about the daily life of an organic cow, then you can enroll in Stonyfield’s Have A Cow Today program. This program was created by Stonyfield in order to provide their consumers with more information about the cow’s lifestyle. Through this program, you can receive monthly pictures, trivia, and news about the cows from a Stonyfield farm.
In order to communicate and enforce their values to their producers, in 2014, Stonyfield launched the Stonyfield Direct Milk Supply program which provided their farms with the resources and technical assistance needed to operate their businesses sustainably. This program eliminates any potential issues that farmers may have regarding organic farming practices. Stonyfield works closely with their farms to ensure their brand’s values and preserve the organic nature of their products. Stonyfield has laid out frameworks as well as policies for farms to model after.
Given all this information about their production process, you may be wondering about the price point for this product. The price of Stonyfield’s whole milk is roughly around a dollar more than the average cost of milk on the market therefore making it one of the pricier milk products. However, if you value your health and the future of the environment, I believe this investment will be well worth it!