Switzerland: Coop’s Pro Montagna Label: 5 Years of Protecting Traditional Swiss Food Products
by Jonell Galloway
In 2005, Andy Imfeld, a montagnard and organic food producer, started discussing the possibility of selling Swiss mountain products directly in Coop supermarkets. After long negotiations as to how it should work, it was decided that for each mountain product sold, a certain amount of the payment would go directly to the families of farmers or projects in mountain regions.
Coop labeled the products Pro Montagna, and the project has been a great success, with some 200 products to date, from yogurt to bread, and including meat products and wooden toys.
The rules are strict. Products have to be in their natural state, and are required to be made entirely in the region from which they come.
The beauty of Coop’s support is that it actually helps protect certain regional products, such as cheese, sausage and bread, which were slowly disappearing due to lack of distribution and interest. Once the recipes and know-how for such products are lost, they risk slipping into extinction. In 2011 alone, 840,000 CHF were contributed to the Parrainage Coop, the entity that distributes payments to help support mountain farmers and producers.
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