A flurry of investment in the sheep milk industry, including significant support from Crown-owned Landcorp, has seen the industry begin to develop a small but strong consumer base to grow from.
This has not only fuelled Landcorp’s joint venture partnership with Spring Sheep to develop and market the alternative milk product, but also a number of other investments in the sector.
Back in 2015, Blue River Dairy, one of New Zealand’s pioneering sheep milk companies, sold its processing plant and brand to a Chinese company, while another, Maui Milk sold a majority stake to a group of four Chinese investors in early 2016.
The deals have helped open up supply routes into China, where consumer tastes align well with the product.
According to Scottie Chapman, CEO of Spring Sheep Milk Co, there has been “a groundswell of consumer demand for alternative dairy and natural products.”
The unique characteristics of sheep milk have formed the basis for valuable niche markets.
Spring Sheep, for example, is specifically targeting Asian mothers of children 1-8 years old.
“Spring Sheep is concentrating on nutritional products for consumers,” says Chapman. “We get it right when we work out what sheep milk products can do better than other alternatives.”
Source: NZ Herald