A milk - and a match - made in Sheffield

Our Cow Molly milk has been a familiar sight in University food and drink outlets since we started working with them a few years ago. But more recently, our partnership has stepped up a gear with great results for the dairy, the University and for the environment.

Here’s the story of how the collaboration between Accommodation and Commercial Services (ACS) and Our Cow Molly is helping us protect the planet, boost our community and get our daily cup of tea.

dungworthThe background

The partnership began with ice cream.

Our Cow Molly's Eddie Andrew told blogger Nibbly Pig that Gavin Brown, our Head of Commercial Services, got in touch when he saw their ice cream tubs displayed as a Made in Sheffield producer in a cabinet in Sheffield Town Hall.

Eddie said: "He bought a tub from (Crookesmoore Grocer) Beanies, loved the quality and gave us a call. After a visit to the farm, plus a few meetings, the University started having our ice cream. Then, after seeing just what a difference using fresher milk makes when steamed for coffee, they soon chose our milk too!" (source: Nibbly Pig).

What were the challenges?

Ethical and sustainable procurement is a key concern for our University; where and how we source our food and drink is an integral part of that.

Prior to developing our partnership with Our Cow Molly, all milk was produced in Yorkshire but had to be transported to London to be pasteurised and bottled, as the dairy in Yorkshire was not large enough to accommodate these services.

So what did we do?

In our bid to reduce emissions and minimise the negative effects of transporting goods long distance, ACS developed the existing partnership with Our Cow Molly.

An exclusive deal means that Our Cow Molly milk is used to supply all 19 of the University cafes.

Our continued investment has meant that Our Cow Molly has been able to build a brand new £500,000 dairy in Yorkshire.

As a result of this expansion Our Cow Molly can increase their maximum weekly output from 8,000 to 40,000 litres. This means all milk is now produced, pasteurised and bottled in Yorkshire. It is processed and delivered on the same day.

What are the results?

The partnership has not only lowered the environmental cost of food procurement but it has also ensured that money is being invested in a small, local business. 

Our Students' Union has also adopted Our Cow Molly as their milk supplier.

Proud of our partnership

Our partnership with Our Cow Molly also led to the local dairy winning the Future Food Award at the BBC Farming Awards 2016. The award acknowledges cutting-edge innovation and pioneering work that could influence how the UK's food will be grown, distributed and sold in future. It was recognised that our partnership is the first time that a university has worked directly with a farmer as supplier and it also acknowledged we're inspiring other universities to adopt similar models.

Related articles and interesting things on Our Cow Molly

Nibbly Pig blog A great interview with farmer Eddie

Sheffield is my planet Can we reduce our cabon footprint whilst sat eating our breakfast cereal?

Eat Sheffield Where to find Our Cow Molly goodies in our city

Our Cow Molly The dairy's website

Follow @OurCowMolly on Twitter