Guest: Jared Pereira – Senior Corporate Counsel at Fonterra
In this episode of Legally Consumed, co-hosts Raph Goldenberg and Will McMinn were joined by Jared Pereira, Senior Corporate Counsel at Fonterra. Fonterra is a New Zealand-based multinational dairy co-operative that oversees the production, manufacturing and distribution of various dairy products.
Jared shares insights into how Fonterra are tackling climate change with creative solutions, the legalities surrounding the dairy industry and the impacts of the emerging market of plant-based milks on the dairy industry. Jared also takes a personal dive into the thrills of being a lawyer in the food production industry.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of your favourite dairy products, then this episode is for you. Tune in for a ‘condensed’ take on dairy production now!
For more information about CIE Legal, head to our website, www.cielegal.com.au. To stay up to date on the latest news and updates about the consumer products legal industry, follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Raph Goldenberg: Hello and welcome to Legally Consumed, a consumer product podcast by a consumer product law firm in Australia. I’m Raph Goldenberg and I’m joined by co-hosts Kaye Ho and Will McMinn, who are members of the team at CIE Legal.
Kaye Ho: We chat with executives of consumer products companies, their legal teams and industry experts who give us a peek into their journeys as people. We explore industry-changing ideas and even shared tips and tricks on how to navigate the consumer products space.
Will McMinn: This season, we will feature guests from the automotive, retail, advertising and insights, food, beverage and primary production and franchising sectors.
Raph Goldenberg: Hello, I’m Raph Goldenberg. Welcome to today’s episode of Legally Consumed. We’re very lucky to be joined today by our guest, Jared Pereira, who is the senior legal counsel at Fonterra. Hi Jared!
Jared Pereira: Hi Raph, I’m really happy to be here.
Raph Goldenberg: Great to have you here and with me as well, co-hosting is Will McMinn. How are you doing Will?
Will McMinn: I’m very well. Thanks, Raph.
Raph Goldenberg: Excellent. So, Jared, it’s great to have our first lawyer to come on as a guest, but it’s a podcast about consumer products and with Fonterra, we thought would be a great, great company and great to hear about your experience.
Raph Goldenberg: You know, dealing with consumer products and all those sorts of things. But we wanted to start by just letting the audience get to know you a little bit. So can you tell us a little bit about your first job and sort of how you ended up where you are now?
Jared Pereira: My first job in law or my first ever job?
Raph Goldenberg: First ever job.
Jared Pereira: My first ever job was cleaning toilets at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Right. So, I cleaned the toilets there. And having dealt with filth and defecation, I thought I might be a lawyer!
Raph Goldenberg: Excellent! And, well, how long did you clean the toilets for?
Jared Pereira: I did that outside of high school and the first couple of years at uni. Yeah. And it was really good because, you know, it was off hours. It was relatively high paying. You know, it didn’t require much thinking on my part. And most importantly, I think it gave me a great sense of achievement because you immediately get a rush of endorphins from moving something from not-so-clean to very clean.
Jared Pereira: It’s the same reason I enjoy washing dishes now!
Raph Goldenberg: How did you, out of interest, How did you? Was it a passion that you had that got you [into cleaning toilets]? What’s it been like? Any situation that got you interested in cleaning toilets?
Jared Pereira: No. I had an aunt who ran a business there, and they were always looking for people to assist in cleaning Changi Airport. And if you’ve ever been to Changi Airport, it’s a very, very clean place and that’s because they have an army of cleaners and such. And on the other hand, it’s also easier to clean a place that’s always clean.
Jared Pereira: Yeah. If you get my drift. Right. And from there I went to university where I became a lawyer. I first started off at a large international law firm. I stayed there for a year. I realized I didn’t want to be a bag carrier for my life. I’d like to appear in court. And I wanted, I was impatient as many young people are, and therefore I moved in.
Jared Pereira: I’m sorry, I moved into government where I was a prosecutor for the Singapore government and did criminal work for about six or seven years.
Raph Goldenberg: Wow.
Jared Pereira: And I did a range of matters ranging from, you know, murders and rapes to thefts and, you know, money laundering and that sort of thing. From my money laundering experience, or other my experience in prosecuting money laundering, I also helped to draft a bit of Singapore’s money laundering legislation. Back in the day, I was asked to join an international investment bank to assist them with their money laundering compliance, which I did.
Jared Pereira: And I moved in-house. I worked there for a couple of years, and they were then looking for someone to move to Australia to help to run the business here from a legal perspective. So, I said, okay, why not? Jumped on a plane with the wife and at the time a very young daughter and a very young son.
Jared Pereira: And we moved here, stayed with the bank for a couple of years thereafter and moved to consumer credit in Australia and did that for about five or six years and, you know, wanted to do something else and fell into FMCG with Fonterra. That was about five or six years ago.
Raph Goldenberg: Right. So you’re actually quite old then Jared!
Jared Pereira: Yes. So, while I look 20, in my twenties, I mean inside I’m probably closer to my eighties, I think.
Will McMinn: And listeners can look up your picture that we’ll have up on the website.
00:05:37:24 – 00:05:43:08
Raph Goldenberg: And you also, before we started recording, also before we started recording, you mentioned that you spent some time in the army as well?
00:05:43:15 – 00:06:08:17
Jared Pereira: Yes. Only because in Singapore, I’m originally from Singapore. In Singapore, it’s compulsory for men to do two and a half years full-time national service before university and then thereafter up to 40 days a year until you’re at the age of about 45 or 50. I did that two and a half year stint and I learned discipline and the fact that I am a lover, not a fighter.
00:06:09:00 – 00:06:16:24
Will McMinn: Yeah, fair enough. Different like. Well, why don’t you tell us a little bit, Jared, about Fonterra, the business.
00:06:17:16 – 00:06:54:01
Right. So, what do they do. So, Fonterra, thanks very much Will. Well Fonterra Co-operative Group is one of the largest dairy producers in the world. It’s big out of New Zealand, but it’s a huge multinational company in Australia. Fonterra Australia has approximately 2000 employees. It’s an end-to-end business in that we source milk from farms. We process and manufacture that milk into consumer brands as well as for industrial purposes or wholesale purposes.
00:06:54:14 – 00:07:24:03
Jared Pereira: We value add to the to the milk and we then on-sell the ingredients or the consumer products. In Australia, we have a number of consumer-facing brands and those include Anchor Mainland as well as Western Star Butter. And we have an exclusive license to sell the Bega brand for cheese, which had cheese products.
00:07:24:21 – 00:07:31:18
Will McMinn: Right. So, it’s pretty likely that listeners will have at least one Fonterra product in their home in some way, hopefully in the fridge.
00:07:31:20 – 00:08:09:08
Jared Pereira: Yes, we calculated actually that, and this is all our sales boffins and our marketing boffins. They reckon that a Western star or a Bega product is sold every second in Australia. Wow. So we’ve got quite a huge penetration. I mean the Bega brand of cheese is the, is Australia’s best-loved cheese and that’s followed up with our butter as well, where Western Star is a very prominent player and our claim to fame, as it were, is that Western star, as well as Bega, are all Australian sourced and there are no additives in it.
00:08:09:08 – 00:08:32:03
Jared Pereira: It is pure butter and pure cheese. We have no fortification; we have no artificial additives or anything like that. So, we get the best milk from our farmers in Victoria and southern New South Wales and Tasmania and we convert that into the products that we feel that Australians love.
00:08:32:14 – 00:08:46:08
Raph Goldenberg: Well, that’s a pretty big span of operations. So how does that translate to, at that level, what does a day’s work look like for you? I mean, what, you can’t possibly be looking after all those things.
00:08:46:11 – 00:09:19:05
Jared Pereira: Well, the great thing about work and this is what attracted me to Fonterra Australia because of its very large scope of operations. I mean, it’s not just a manufacturer of products, it doesn’t just package products, it doesn’t just source milk from farms or process products, it does everything. And as such, as a lawyer, it’s a really interesting area to be in because you get hit with varied questions every day and get involved in projects that you possibly wouldn’t get in another organisation.
00:09:19:05 – 00:09:59:00
Jared Pereira: I mean, I deal, on a daily basis, with everything from marketing, you know, ‘can we make this claim?’, ‘can we wrap it in this colour?’. To ‘can we put this recycling logo on the label?’, or ‘we have a farmer who is undergoing difficulty and can’t produce sufficient milk to meet his contractual requirements, what can we do there to help?’, ‘we need to renew a lease on our plant and equipment’ or, you know, the other day we had a shortage rate of force, a major issue around the supply of carbon dioxide, which is required in a part of our manufacturing process.
00:09:59:00 – 00:10:14:23
Jared Pereira: So how do we deal with those supply chain issues and procurement? So, it’s fantastic! I see myself in this particular role much like an ER or an emergency room, Doctor. I mean, you can’t possibly be the expert in everything, but you need to know enough to keep the company alive.
00:10:15:10 – 00:10:15:20
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah.
00:10:16:07 – 00:10:41:12
Jared Pereira: And to keep the issue at bay. And then appropriately go out and get specialist advice when you need to from people like CIE Legal and our other partners. Right. ‘Who can provide specialist input as and when we needed?’. That having been said, if you’ve ever worked in-house as you have Raph, you know that your management tends to look at you as the ‘know it all’ for any legal issue, even if you have no experience.
00:10:41:12 – 00:11:02:03
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah, and sometimes non-legal issues. Sort of my experience has been that it’s often anything that’s hard and it’s dressed up as we need your help from a legal perspective, when really, we need your help coming up with a strategy.
00:11:02:16 – 00:11:26:07
Jared Pereira: Yes. And I think that’s really accurate. And I think that the reason for that Raph, is I think that when you get into a relationship, a good relationship with your management team and with the people in the business, that’s called the business, I think they appreciate that being a lawyer comes with a certain degree of clarity of thought and an objective view.
00:11:26:07 – 00:11:44:11
Jared Pereira: So, if they’re coming to Raph or to Jared or to another lawyer in-house, it might not be specifically for a legal question, but because they appreciate that objectivity, that rationality that we apparently bring into a problem, and also because we have no skin in the game because we don’t have our profit and loss.
00:11:44:16 – 00:11:45:01
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah.
00:11:45:02 – 00:11:58:11
Jared Pereira: So, we can look at it regardless of the financial, you know, biases that might be present and say, well, if it were me, it’s not me. I don’t get to make this decision. But I think you should look at A, B and C, Yeah.
00:11:58:20 – 00:11:59:16
Raph Goldenberg: Yep. And it’s free.
00:12:00:02 – 00:12:02:21
Jared Pereira: Exactly, it’s free. That’s the most important thing. It’s free.
00:12:02:24 – 00:12:14:10
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The milk industry’s pretty complicated. Like it’s highly regulated, isn’t it? Can you tell us a little bit? Does that play a big part of your work?
00:12:14:19 – 00:12:56:16
Jared Pereira: Yeah, I’m well, in terms of the operational side of collecting milk, yes. That’s heavily regulated. With the Dairy Industry Board recently instituted a dairy code of conduct which came out in 2020. Of course, we have. That’s overlaid with all our food and health and safety protocol calls and things like that. And, you know, we have compliance teams and operational teams who ensure compliance with all of those requirements at each factory, etc. And overlaid on that, we have environmental obligations, we have, you know, consumer regulations.
00:12:56:16 – 00:13:22:23
Jared Pereira: On top of that, we are a regulated industry. In any FMCG, food, any sort of food manufacturer has those obligations, and rightly so. I mean, we want the public to have confidence in our product to be able to eat safely, to purchase safely. But apart from our Australian regulations, we also have other regulations that apply.
00:13:22:23 – 00:13:55:17
Jared Pereira: I mean, we supply ingredients via Australian-sourced ingredients out to places like China or to Malaysia where you have foreign regulations that go on and foreign certification that’s required, especially around organic sourced material. And then you have, you know, various other requirements, for example, halal or kosher requirements depending on where you’re selling into the market. So that does play a role.
00:13:55:17 – 00:14:30:20
Jared Pereira: I mean, it’s impossible for any one person to be able to cross it. What we do is we have a decentralised model where stakeholders are in charge of their own regulatory regime, as it were. So they know they’re experts in what is required to get the certification of that certification, what is required to run the audits. And then on a needs basis, they come to us or come to me and my boss to then determine how we best meet those requirements, because, I mean, it’s not as if I’m a walking encyclopaedia of everything that has to do with food.
00:14:30:20 – 00:14:40:05
Jared Pereira: I mean, as I said, I was originally from Singapore. All my food comes from a tin, right. The net contribution of agriculture to Singapore’s economy is 0%.
00:14:40:16 – 00:14:42:20
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah. It’s a consumer of food not a producer. Yeah.
00:14:42:21 – 00:14:45:18
Jared Pereira: Totally!
00:14:46:10 – 00:14:54:12
Will McMinn: So Jared, you mentioned the dairy code has recently come in. How big of an impact has that had on Fonterra’s operations, day-to-day, do you think?
00:14:54:12 – 00:15:14:16
Jared Pereira: Well, first of all, let me say that I personally think that the dairy code was an excellent introduction. One particular thing I liked about it was the idea that all contracts have to be in a single document, as it were, even though that requires a bit of clarification, but mostly in plain English.
00:15:14:16 – 00:15:37:12
Jared Pereira: So I’m a big proponent of plain English. I think that if lawyers can or companies can walk away a little bit from overcomplicated language where possible, that is a business advantage and a commercial advantage because it reduces your time to the deal, it reduces negotiation, it reduces negotiation time management time and reduces time to money, as it were.
00:15:37:12 – 00:16:13:23
Jared Pereira: Right. Which is what you want to look at. We reviewed our milk supply contracts in line with that. In 2020 we redrafted all of them. We then got input from CIE Legal to assist us with that, to ensure that everything was rigid and hunky dory and met the requirements. We were very proud of the fact that while some of our competitors were pinged thereafter by the ACCC, we’ve had zero queries and zero concerns about our contracts from a dairy code perspective.
00:16:13:23 – 00:16:36:22
Jared Pereira: Touchwood. We’re quite happy with that. That’s not to say we can’t continue to improve because as the market develops, and as the business develops, we sort of have to keep our contracts moving in accordance with that. So it has had some kind of an impact and the farmers like it, right? The farmers like plain English, the farmers like clarity.
00:16:37:04 – 00:17:06:05
Jared Pereira: They’re businessmen, they’re very sophisticated businessmen. At the end of the day, a lot of our suppliers are multi-generational farmers. They know how to do what they do best. They just need to be facilitated to do their best. And that’s what we want. I mean, as a player in the dairy market for a number of years and for the foreseeable future, while we will, you know, engage in single year contracts, that’s not really the objective.
00:17:06:05 – 00:17:33:19
Jared Pereira: The objective is to build a partnership for a multi year contract with farmers and suppliers such that we have certainty of supply and can plan forward. But also we have time to build a relationship with our suppliers to contribute to them our knowledge, skills and experience. We have an entire department for that right? We have an entire team called Farm Source, which is a differentiator with Fonterra.
00:17:33:21 – 00:18:14:06
Jared Pereira: Farm source gives farmers a variety of facilities. They can look at their projected milk production, their projected earnings, their year on year performance, you know, their costs. We also have a team on the ground who are all ex-agronomists or ex-dairy farmers themselves, agriculture or agricultural experts, environmental experts who can go in, assist our farmers with all suppliers, with, you know, environmental compliance.
00:18:14:06 – 00:18:26:24
Jared Pereira: You know, how do you do an environmental plan, you know, suggestions on feed, suggestions on animal welfare, you know. So that sort of a value add, I think, and.
00:18:26:24 – 00:18:28:16
Raph Goldenberg: That’s all funded by Fonterra?
00:18:28:16 – 00:18:49:08
Jared Pereira: Entirely by Fonterra. It comes as part of being a supplier. You know, we have rigorous standards and we think that, you know, around for example, animal welfare and environmental concerns and we think that if we didn’t support our farmers then that would be unfair. You can’t just tell someone you need to do A, B and C and give them no way of doing that.
00:18:49:13 – 00:19:16:02
Jared Pereira: And get them to bear the cost of that. I mean, what we are trying to do is to and I don’t mean to sound arrogant because, you know, all farmers know what they’re doing and they’re multi-generational, but to sort of give that added input as a global player as to not just comply with Australian regulations, but sort of global expectations of what a good, sustainable farming methods are to provide the best possible product.
00:19:16:02 – 00:19:50:00
Jared Pereira: Because I mean, ultimately a happy cow provides better milk, right? And, and everything revolves around the milk price for, for listeners who don’t understand how this works, I mean, it’s not just $2 a litre or something. It’s quite a complicated formula where we determine the price of milk based on the kg of milk solids. So that’s excluding the water bit, how much fat and how much protein there is in that milk and that is priced differently.
00:19:50:13 – 00:20:15:24
Jared Pereira: So if you’re pricing, you know, $10 per kilogram of milk solids, for example, then you know, if you’re a better farmer with better cows and better feed, you can actually produce less milk and get the same amount of kilograms of milk solid if that makes sense, because the quality is better.
Will McMinn: That makes sense.
Jared Pereira: And why is that important?
00:20:15:24 – 00:20:48:16
Jared Pereira: Because white milk that we sell out to as drinking milk is not the real profit driver. It’s a necessity but is a definite good right. What you’re really looking at is where the value adds and things like in cheese, things like ingredients. We have an ingredients business that sells into nutritionals. Everything is sold by fat and protein content because that’s what you want in your nutritionals, for example.
00:20:50:03 – 00:20:52:07
Jared Pereira: Sorry we digressed a little bit around the dairy.
00:20:52:20 – 00:21:19:02
Will McMinn: No! We’ve covered a lot of ground. It’s good. I want to go back to the help that you give farmers. That’s quite a fine line, I suppose, to walk then, because you don’t want to be telling them obviously how to do their jobs. But you’ve got the benefit of working with suppliers all across Australia and across New Zealand and you probably know a lot more about what’s going on in the region as a whole.
00:21:19:13 – 00:21:41:21
Jared Pereira: Yes, I think that it is finite and as a lawyer, I think we do speak to our team and we say, you know, there’s a fine line between providing, you know, financial advice or legal advice as opposed to providing insights. Yet you’re not necessarily, you know, we use the standard disclaimers, you know, that may not necessarily take into account your personal circumstances.
00:21:42:05 – 00:21:42:24
Jared Pereira: We try not to.
00:21:42:24 – 00:21:46:08
Raph Goldenberg: Do not rely on this 500 page document that we’ve just put together.
00:21:46:08 – 00:21:48:00
Jared Pereira: Exactly that.
00:21:48:00 – 00:21:50:13
Raph Goldenberg: It’s just for illustrative purposes.
00:21:51:00 – 00:22:15:09
Jared Pereira: And mind you, our Farm Source team doesn’t tell all our suppliers you don’t need an agronomist or you don’t need someone else. We’re just there, you know, to provide suggestions and tips and hints, you know, and because a lot of our farm team come from farming families themselves and have backgrounds in agronomy or agriculture, it might just be a chat over a coffee.
00:22:15:10 – 00:22:38:09
Jared Pereira: When our team does regular visits, you know, or, you know, Bessies isn’t performing that well. Well, have you thought about A, B and C or, you know, I’d really like to increase the protein. Do you have any suggestions? Well, from our experience and from our school or farm pool or farmers, we find that people who use 3% more of X versus Y may get a slightly better outcome.
00:22:38:11 – 00:22:53:19
Jared Pereira: You know, that sort of industry sharing, I mean it really is in a sense no different from if farmers came on a round table and started trading stories and advice in that sense.
00:22:53:19 – 00:22:57:16
Will McMinn: And that goes back to Fonterra being a co-operative owned by New Zealand farmers.
00:22:57:16 – 00:23:14:16
Jared Pereira: Exactly. And that’s I think really important because whatever we do, we do for the end benefit of our New Zealand co-operative members. Right. And their farmers as well. And it’s in everyone’s interest that we treat farmers fairly because we’re owned by farmers.
00:23:14:16 – 00:23:15:19
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah, Yeah.
00:23:19:16 – 00:23:39:21
Raph Goldenberg: So what’s a nightmare scenario? Like what’s the worst thing that you, what’s the biggest thing you’re afraid of happening. Because as lawyers that’s where we’re geared to think that way, Right. We’re always thinking of that worst case scenario. And I think, you know, with the products you make and the scale of it is. There’s some risks!
00:23:40:14 – 00:24:14:04
Jared Pereira: Yes, of course. And I think a scenario for any good manufacturer, especially in food, is the danger of contamination or and ultimately product recall. I think that while it’s never happened to me, while I’ve been with Fonterra, I think that because of the many, many moving parts in transforming milk into a cheese and selling it to consumers, I think that there will always be an opportunity for a break or failure at some key point and it could be anything.
00:24:14:15 – 00:24:32:15
Jared Pereira: And while we have stringent quality control processes and we’re confident in our systems, it’s never going to be a non-zero chance of occurrence. And I think that is what generally keeps me up at night. But the other thing that keeps me up at night…
00:24:32:16 – 00:24:39:20
Will McMinn: Sorry Jared but you also see that even with less complicated food products, like you said. Was it lettuce or was it spinach that happened earlier this year (2023)?
00:24:39:20 – 00:25:01:20
Jared Pereira: Yes, I think it was lettuce that happened earlier this year, because I think there was some hallucinogenic weeds or something that were actually incorporated into the lettuce and people got sick from it. And, you know, question mark, could that have been picked up or was it inevitable, given the number of pre-prepared salads that make their way into supermarkets every year?
00:25:02:09 – 00:25:21:01
Jared Pereira: And the fact that I mean, I’m not a botanist by any chance, by any means, but I mean identifying a random weed in several metric tonnes of lettuce is probably a hard ask, right? This is not the same obviously as having a magnet to pick up metal shavings. This is a leaf.
00:25:21:01 – 00:25:29:05
Will McMinn: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. And you’re not even sort of processing it or refining it necessarily, as Fonterra does.
00:25:29:23 – 00:25:50:06
Jared Pereira: In the lettuce example. You’re just cutting up washing it and you know, selecting it for the best look, feel and taste and sending it out. So these things get, get I wouldn’t say missed, but these things unfortunately happen and, and it’s a byproduct of our industrial level of food manufacture.
00:25:51:06 – 00:26:13:09
Raph Goldenberg: Are all these alternative milk types… I’ve got lactose intolerant children and a lactose intolerant wife. So we have lactose free milk out at home from Coles and you’ve got almond milk and soy and all those sorts of different things. Are they a threat to Fonterra and to farmers? I guess.
00:26:13:20 – 00:26:40:05
Yes, that’s a really good question and that’s become really popular. These sort of alternate to plant based milks, and I’ll use that in inverted commas. I mean, you know, there hasn’t been much of a push in Australia to sort of differentiate plant based, shall we call them juices and nut juices from milk as there has been some push in New Zealand to do so.
00:26:40:05 – 00:27:08:02
Jared Pereira: I think that it would be difficult. There has been some talk in the industry around differentiating it, much like the Europeans have, you know, control over certain claims, over provenance. You know, Parma Reggiano can only come from the Reggiano region of Italy, for example, or champagne can only come from the champagne region. And that’s slightly different because that’s a provenance issue.
00:27:08:13 – 00:27:31:14
Jared Pereira: But the question is, is milk of such a level where you can then claim that only cows, milk or milk from a mammal here is technically milk. Now there will always be a market for plant based alternatives or alternatives in general to dairy milk and for a variety of reasons, for health reasons, for philosophical reasons, for religious reasons.
00:27:31:14 – 00:28:00:13
Jared Pereira: And there’s a space for that and a need for that. I think that while we have not blind to the threat, as it were, on the market to the market for milk, I think that dairy milk still has or dairy still has a very strong following in Australia as well as a very strong value proposition. I think as we spoke earlier about fat and protein content, nutrition.
00:28:00:13 – 00:28:01:07
Raph Goldenberg: Nutritional value.
00:28:01:07 – 00:28:31:13
Jared Pereira: Yes, nutritional value. You can’t really duplicate that in a nut milk without fortification. So the question then is, will the consumer be happy with an artificial fortification if they’re only doing it for a philosophical reason, for example, and not because in your example, people are lactose intolerant versus something else. That having been said, can I suggest that there are dairy milks that could assist with lactose intolerance.
00:28:31:13 – 00:28:39:00
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah. The ones we have at home are dairy milks and they just have their lactose taken out of them.
00:28:39:00 – 00:29:16:03
Jared Pereira: Or the alternative because it’s not all lactose that causes the issue. To my understanding, I’m not a scientist once again, but A2, one of our partners, sells and has a trademark over the A2 brand name and they sell milk that only has the A2 protein. So apparently, to my understanding, there are two types of protein in milk, A1 and A2, and they’re naturally mixed in all milk, except that it’s only the A1 strain of the protein that causes lactose intolerance or the or rather exacerbates the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
00:29:16:10 – 00:29:42:21
Jared Pereira: And there have been some findings that a pure A2 protein milk does not cause those issues and it’s about and this is all genetically based in the cows. So the issue is how do you produce a cow through selective breeding, etc. to produce only A2 quality milk? And that’s what we do with some of our suppliers who supply to the A2 brand.
00:29:43:09 – 00:30:02:18
Jared Pereira: And we have very stringent processes around herd selection and testing, etc.. Right. That having been said, in terms of lactose intolerance, you will find that if your family loves cheeses, the older the cheese, the less the naturally occurring lactose is. So if you buy a very vintage cheddar, for example, there’ll be virtually no.
00:30:02:22 – 00:30:07:09
Raph Goldenberg: Cheeses are pretty. Yeah, nearly as bad as that of milk and cream.
00:30:08:16 – 00:30:11:00
Will McMinn: That’s fascinating. I had no idea.
00:30:11:04 – 00:30:35:10
Jared Pereira: Nor did I. And everything I’ve learned about milk has been learned against my will. As a lawyer, as a dumb lawyer with no background originally in farming or in milk. Back on the supplements entry or rather the alternatives to milk from plants. I think we… and this is my personal view – I think we need to distinguish between who is buying these alternative milks.
00:30:35:10 – 00:31:06:08
Jared Pereira: Right. And determine as a dairy company how we can address those concerns. We’re not going to become a plant based or oat milk manufacturer. We are a dairy company, right? So we need to look at the subdivision of the consumers who are purchasing alternatives and say, okay, there are people who are lactose intolerant. How do we address that with innovation, for example, via A2 milk, to draw them away from oat milk, for example, or any other kind of milk.
00:31:06:08 – 00:31:25:04
Jared Pereira: The second is your philosophical consumers who say, I’m concerned about the impact of dairy farming on the environment. How do we address that? We address through our environmental initiatives. So I’ll give you an example of some of our environmental initiatives.
00:31:25:04 – 00:31:29:05
Will McMinn: Can you tell us about the seaweed? I saw this in the show notes.
00:31:29:09 – 00:31:36:16
Jared Pereira: Yeah, there were a couple of things, actually. It’s quite exciting. I mean, in Australia we partner with a group called Sea Forest.
00:31:37:01 – 00:32:02:21
Raph Goldenberg: Sorry, I’m going to shout out here and interrupt you because another of our podcast guests Polestar, the electric car company, also partners with Sea Forest and one of their ambassadors is the CEO of Sea Forest because of that sort of sustainability connection.
00:32:03:04 – 00:32:33:00
Jared Pereira: That’s lovely. I wonder if through those contacts I can maybe get a discount on a Polestar? They’re lovely cars! But yes, we partner with Sea Forest and the CSIRO and what’s happening is that we’ve had trials around a particular strain of seaweed and this particular seaweed, when added to food, can possibly or does apparently reduce methane production in the natural course of cow’s digestion.
00:32:33:08 – 00:32:56:14
Jared Pereira: So your listeners might not know this, but one of the largest contributors to methane emissions from dairy farming comes from the burps of cows both front and back. Yeah, in the process of natural digestion because of the food they eat. I mean, we know they’re ruminants, right? So, they digest their food over a long period of time and methane then builds up.
00:32:57:15 – 00:33:28:12
Jared Pereira: So the question is, what can we feed or how can we change the feed of the cows to maintain their health, to maintain protein, etc., and fat while reducing carbon emissions or methane emissions? In this particular example, and that is through the use of this, the seaweed additive, which is a renewable resource which reduces methane exposure. And also interestingly, they’ve come up with this trademarked idea, which I thought was quite amusing.
00:33:28:12 – 00:33:39:01
Jared Pereira: It’s called ‘Cow-bucha’, and it’s about fermentation because they’re ruminants, the fermentation of the seaweed within their stomachs.
00:33:39:01 – 00:33:39:17
Raph Goldenberg: Yeah.
00:33:39:17 – 00:34:15:23
Jared Pereira: As well as adding this fermented product to them, which is all natural, and then reducing their emissions of waste. So that’s fantastic. Another one that another initiative they’re doing in New Zealand, which hasn’t launched here but recently won an award, I’m told, at Gulf Food, which is the Middle East’s largest expo, is what Fonterra New Zealand is calling carbon zero butter, carbon zero organic butter.
00:34:16:08 – 00:34:46:11
Jared Pereira: So through various processes and through replacement and good farm management, they’ve managed to obtain certification for carbon zero butter. So then our philosophical consumers or consumers motivated to move to oat milk can then be more comfortable with the fact that their choices aren’t inadvertently causing, you know, significant environmental damage. I mean, as a New Zealand company.
00:34:46:21 – 00:34:50:01
Raph Goldenberg: So what’s behind carbon zero? What makes it carbon zero?
00:34:50:11 – 00:35:20:04
Jared Pereira: My understanding is that the process reduces it as well as there’s a replacement for carbon, for example, planting of trees to try to neutralise any otherwise negative consequences. Another example of this sort of environment neutral position is one of the big issues in New Zealand is obviously pollution of waterways and soil through dairy farming, and that’s because of effluent.
00:35:20:04 – 00:36:02:19
Jared Pereira: I mean, they’re animals, they produce effluent and management is an issue. They’re experimenting apparently with plantation plantations and plantations, as I’m told, is a form of banana but not a sweet banana, some kind of a savoury, if there such a thing as savoury banana. And you know the question mark, whether these particular strains of plantation when grown on dairy farms at the or the fringes of dairy farms, help to absorb the free effluent or the nitrogen before it enters the system, the rest of the environmental system.
00:36:02:19 – 00:36:23:02
Jared Pereira: So what they’re doing is trying to have a natural solution to a natural problem. And I think that to my knowledge, I don’t think anyone else is doing that. And I think that’s a great step forward and also, once again addresses these issues with philosophical consumers, right?
00:36:23:13 – 00:36:44:23
Raph Goldenberg: It’s sort of it’s now clear to me why you started your career cleaning the toilets, because it’s almost like you’ve come full circle using your expertise in that space. And now at Fonterra, you’re cleaning it up, but this time you’re doing it with plantains!
00:36:44:24 – 00:36:54:18
Jared Pereira: I can honestly say that the way we manage our cows or we help our farmers to manage their herd is that the average cow is a lot cleaner than the average human!
00:36:55:03 – 00:37:13:02
Raph Goldenberg: And you can say that with experience! So Jared, before we finish, we always ask our guests, if you were the Prime minister for the day and you could change one law, what would it be?
00:37:14:13 – 00:37:14:21
Jared Pereira: Right.
00:37:14:23 – 00:37:18:11
Raph Goldenberg: So this is what allows us to call it Legally Consumed!
00:37:18:12 – 00:38:00:09
Jared Pereira: Yes, quite. I think. And I wouldn’t restrict myself to the dairy industry or anything like that. But in general, and possibly because I’m biassed, because I originally come from a low tax jurisdiction like Singapore, I think that our tax system is overly complicated. I don’t think it’s conducive to business. I think having the numerous number of deductions allowable, the tax code rulings by the ATO, having a whole industry of accountants and, you know, tax people who can file taxes for you etcetera and tax agents is unnecessary and wasteful.
00:38:00:09 – 00:38:31:04
Jared Pereira: I think the amount of tax compliance that the average business or the average individual has to incur on a yearly basis is disproportionate. My suspicion is if I were PM and that’s not going to happen anytime soon, but if I were, I would reform our tax system, reduce our taxes in general, but also eliminate deductions so that it is simpler for the average individual to file their taxes.
00:38:31:04 – 00:38:48:06
Jared Pereira: It’s almost like a game. You know, it’s the tax in Australia to me, it’s almost like a game. The government knows how much you’re supposed to pay, but they won’t tell you and then they only tell you when you get it wrong. Yeah, you know, so it’s like I’m guessing what you want and you. But you know what you want.
00:38:48:10 – 00:39:07:13
But let’s see how far you push it, you know, And that to me will be eliminated. I mean, put in a, you know, what is our corporate tax rate now? 30%, 27.5% corporate tax rate. I think if you’re a small or medium enterprise, how is that competitive? That’s not overly competitive and you’re individual to our individual tax rates?
00:39:07:13 – 00:39:23:19
Jared Pereira: I mean, they’re looking at a marginal tax rate, top marginal tax rate, I think 42 and a half, 43 and a half or something. That is excessive! I mean, in Singapore, I’m not comparing once again, the top marginal tax rate is something like 20%, which is 500 grand or something?
00:39:23:19 – 00:39:24:04
Raph Goldenberg: Wow.
00:39:24:06 – 00:39:54:09
Jared Pereira: So, you know, I think the move towards a consumption tax is probably a better sort of scenario for Australians, though some people say that unfairly discriminates against lower income earners. I suspect that you could exclude a wider variety of goods and services from the GST and increase GST on non-essential goods. But once again, that’s just me shooting the breeze and I don’t actually have to implement it.
00:39:54:11 – 00:39:58:12
Jared Pereira: So I leave it to the elected officials.
00:39:59:16 – 00:40:07:08
Raph Goldenberg: Excellent. Well, thank you, Jared. That has been fascinating and thank you for joining us today and good luck.!
00:40:08:01 – 00:40:10:17
Jared Pereira: Thank you very much. Thanks. Thanks for having me, Will. Thank you very much.
00:40:11:03 – 00:40:57:21
Raph Goldenberg: And if you’d like any more information about Jared Perera, just look him up on LinkedIn, and I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear.
~ Music Interlude ~
Raph Goldenberg: Thank you for tuning in to Legally Consumed, a Consumer Products podcast by the Consumer Products law firm. This was presented by Raph Goldenberg, Kaye Ho and Will McMinn from CIE Legal. Our theme song is by our very own CIE Legal house band, which is comprised of Will McMinn, Andrew Maher and Andrew Thompson.
00:40:58:01 – 00:41:00:21
Kaye Ho: This podcast production is in partnership with Social Star.
00:41:01:00 – 00:41:23:19
Will McMinn: If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please make sure you follow us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Spotify or wherever else you get your podcasts from. For more updates and behind the scenes footage, head to our Instagram at @CIELegal. You can also check out our website to listen to a range of episodes and find additional free information at www.cielegal.com.au.
00:41:23:24 – 00:41:37:16
Will McMinn: To get in contact with CIE Legal about consumer products legal services, reach out to us on email@example.com. Thanks again for listening to legally consumed and see you all in the next episode!