A FAIR Milk brand was launched in Switzerland at the start of this month, in the area of Säuliamt, home to about 60,000 inhabitants and 110 dairy farms, with an annual milk production of 20 million litres.

The new brand of milk, 100% natural in terms of content and exclusively from the region, is selling through the district's 11 VOLG outlets – run by the Association of Agricultural Cooperatives of Eastern Switzerland.

The cows are either held in freestall barns or let out regularly to graze, so the milk is grass-fed and will, say its producers, keep for 10 days. This means that production stocks must be calculated very carefully.

Underpinning the brand is the Säuliamt Fair Milk Cooperative, composed of 40 family dairy farms, whose farmers helped launch the initiative by standing in front of the VOLG shops and offering customers cartons of milk.

All this prompted a lot of media attention in the traditionally reserved central European nation state, and the level of commercial success surprised the most sceptical as well. In just two hours, Fair Milk was sold out at one of the outlets, and after four hours, the Fair Milk shelves were empty in 9 of the 11 outlets. Keen customers had to be asked to wait till Monday.

"This morning's success is an enormous motivation boost for all participating dairy farmers," said Martin Haab, president of the district's farmer's association, on launch date. "We will use this push forward to further develop our project."