Comparing milk and diesel in Germany

In Germany, the Milk Dialogue initiative has had a podium discussion online about the topic, “Is Milk the New Diesel?” Karsten Schmal, vice president at the German Farmers Association, with communication experts Stephan Lützenkirchen and Winnie Isabel Sonntag, worked out the parallels and differences with the online audience.

Lützenkirchen noted, when dealing with the topic of sustainability and climate protection, “I see a decisive difference in that the automotive industry has destroyed confidence irreparably in diesel scandal. In the dairy industry, on the other hand, there are simply controversial opinions.” Both sectors are equally influenced by trends, have great economic importance and are challenged by emotionally charged discussions.

Lützenkirchen recommended an open, honest communication with continuity. In order to build a good feeling for the product in the long term, it needs a lot of commitment. Milk is a cultural property, he said.

Sonntag brought the experiences from her scientific work at the University of Göttingen into the discussion and reaffirmed the path of value communication: “Communication begins with listening. Let’s show our opposite that we take his worries seriously and try to put in his position. Emotions are sometimes more important than facts and so we have to build trust.”

“Milk is not a luxury slide, but an alternative staple food. The profit rates of car and dairy industry are not comparable at all. The car market is not as price sensitive as we know it from the market of food,” Schmal stated.

Dairy farmers are already on a good path in the areas of climate protection and animal welfare. Milk deserves the green label, but the efforts also need a price tag, Schmal underlined.

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