The Consumer Brand: FAQ

All you have to know

Frequently asked questions

What is the “The Consumer Brand” initiative and what are its objectives?

The Consumer Brand is a revolutionary new way of getting products we actually want on our dinner table. Coming together with one voice we can make a difference – shaping the story of the food we eat, and knowing that the various stakeholders involved in the production chain are being fairly compensated for abiding by our standards and values.

By coming together we can change the face of food production in the UK for good.

Where did The Consumer Brand initiative originate?

The Consumer Brand initiative started in France and is known as “C’est qui le patron?!” (“Who’s the boss?”). French consumers have welcomed the initiative with open arms and are very active and engaged. It has helped hundreds of farmers and their families out of complex financial situations, and given more people the kind of produce they want. The initiative gained momentum during an uncertain economic and social climate by bringing back the transparency and trust between farmers, processors, retailers and consumers.

As we champion respect, transparency, accountability and commitment, we believe the time is right for the UK to have more of a say in what they consume, for both health and environmental reasons.

How many farmers currently market their milk production under CQLP (“C’est qui le patron?!”)?

More than 300 farming families are committed to the initiative and produced more than 100 million litres of milk last year. CQLP milk represents around 3% of the semi-skimmed milk market in France, only 2 years after it began. The initiative started in France with milk and now offers a range of over 30 products.

Regarding the traditional market supply chain, there are four fundamental stakeholders: the producer, the manufacturer, the retailer and the consumer. How will the role of each one change with the introduction of your initiative?

Each one stays in their respective role, complementing the others in the process.

Our task is to make sure that everything is transparent, fair and sincere. We help our consumers be a part of each step, creating trust and respect between all parties.

You state that the consumers decide what they want to buy and at what price, as well as where they want their money to go. How can this be done?

When we put forward a questionnaire to the consumer, it is important for us to understand and consider the entire production cycle. We must be aware of qualitative, economic, environmental and social aspects. We do this by meeting with all stakeholders and identifying their constraints, their expertise, and their ability to improve each aspect of production.

Then we put forward a list of themes that will have an impact on the final pricing of the product, allowing our consumers to choose what’s important to them and so they can see how their priorities impact the final price.

In addition to the questionnaire, we facilitate the flow of information between farmer and consumer by providing material that explains the production cycle from farmer to store.

We want to engage our consumers and use this transparency to help them decide what compensation our farmers should be receiving. However, we not only want to compensate farmers fairly, we also want them to comply with animal welfare and environmental standards. So our consumers are instrumental in the decisions of farmers to become more sustainable, as well as supporting traditional knowhow, which is at risk of disappearing.

Consumers who purchase The Consumer Brand goods are not only improving the quality of produce on offer but are contributing to a global vision based on values such as fairness, transparency and respect.

The key to your success will be consumer participation in order to get a better reward for the farmer. However, for the system to work, it is necessary to add the processors and retailers too. Why should they join the project?

One of our priorities when meeting potential partners is to understand if they share a similar goal and mindset of helping farmers and providing a good product to the consumers. We have a lot of respect for those who take on our initiative and choose to be our partners because we are aware of the risk that they are taking. However, we strongly believe that the risk is worth the reward.

Who do the farmers sign a contract with and who is responsible for paying them?

The processor negotiates with the farmers on behalf of The Consumer Brand and has a contract with The Consumer Brand which clearly lists the requirements of the end product as well as the commitment they are taking regarding the assurance scheme which has been defined by the consumer. Therefore, it will be the processor who will pay the farmer a price that our consumers have previously committed to.

How can the consumer check on the financial impact of their choices?

This is facilitated through the online questionnaire, where the base fee updates as consumers select their preferences for the end product. By making these real time adjustments, we can lay the foundation for a product being available at realistic prices that our consumers will happily pay for.

How does the consumer know that the product they have purchased has been produced following the guidelines and preferences selected in the questionnaire?

We achieve this through:

  1. Technical control: an independent auditing company visits both the producer and the manufacturer in order to check and report on their adherence to the assurance schemes and analyse the product.
  2. Moral control: members of our consumer community are invited on regular organised visits to both the farmers and producers. This encourages lots of on-site questions from our consumers as they engage directly with the various stakeholders in the supply chain. We also video the sessions and make them available to the people who are unable to join us.
How will the organisation be paid?

The Consumer Brand receive 5% of the final selling price. This money is used to set up the supply chain, organise the audits and controls, run the consumer community, and guarantee all the processes and requirements are met.