Even more importantly, Michel Cantaloube doesn’t intend to sell the remaining 80 percent of his production to the dairy industry for much longer, if all goes according to plan. For he has discovered an even more lucrative way to monetize his raw milk than direct sales: unpasteurized yogurt. He’s enrolled his nephew in his new business venture. As it turns out, the latter invested in yogurt-making equipment several years ago, which he has been utilizing below capacity. “After deducting all the production costs, making yogurt enables me to sell my milk the equivalent of 1.30 euros/liter,” Michel Cantaloube says. Yogurt is also much easier to ship than raw milk, and has a longer shelf life.
So far, the product has been successfully tested in four local small shops, including one food coop. Michel Cantaloube expects his big breakthrough next month when his yogurt is distributed through… local Leclerc supermarkets.
“We’ve been selected as one of the local producers that Leclerc intends to push starting in November, as it launches its national strategy designed to improve its offering and distinguish itself from the competition, supermarket by supermarket,” Michel Cantaloube explains. “If the full 80 percent of my 400.000-liter annual production could be turned into yogurt, I would be in Heaven!”
Image: Raw-milk vending machine set up by Michel Cantaloube outside a Leclerc supermarket in Montauban, France. On the left, a glass-bottle dispenser. On the right, customers access the "raw milk fountain" behind the small shiny door. The machine sells 200 liters per day. It is restocked every morning. Sensor chips keep its owner informed in real time, via his cell phone, of the milk temperature and volume.