Cows grazing on hillside pastures are a stereotypical – if often true – image of Switzerland. The Swiss are proud of their mountains and their pristine Alpine countryside. They’re also pretty serious about promoting homegrown food products.
One of the country’s leading supermarket chains, Co-op, sells a line of branded Swiss food products – milk, yogurts, meats, cheeses and more – that promotes sustainable mountain farming.
Farming in these areas can be challenging – financially, demographically and geographically. It is expensive to farm on a mountain side where everything has to be brought in and out, the population is often sparse, infrastructure is less advanced than in more easily-accessible regions and the topography and steep terrain can make even simple tasks challenging.
But it is agriculture that keeps these remote regions populated, infrastructure sustained and the environment maintained, so there is interest in keeping farmers in these areas. All products sold under this label are produced and processed in the local area, and labeled as such at retail.
Co-op’s branded mountain milk, for example, is a premium product featuring a pastoral photograph of grazing cows on a hillside, letting consumer identify with the less tangible attributes of the product they’re buying. And a portion of the sale of every container of mountain milk goes to fund a program called “Pro Montagna”, a not-for-profit foundation run by the retail chain that supports sustainable farming projects in these regions.
Here’s a photo from their website of a variety of the food products they sell as part of this program: