Independent specialty fresh milk processor, Riverina Fresh, has introduced production changes to keep up with changing demand for its products due to the coronavirus threat.
The company has experienced a reduction in demand from its central city barrister customers, but has seen an increase in demand in suburban cafes and restaurants.
The Wagga Wagga based company has also been trying to keep up with increased demand due to panic buying in the supermarkets it supplies.
Riverina Fresh CEO, Rob Collier said they were ramping up production to meet demand.
He said the company had been handling a surplus of milk in recent times and they were now capturing that extra supply for their customers to meet the unprecedented demand.
“We are making some changes and adjusting shifts to meet that demand, mainly from supermarkets.
“It is difficult in that we don’t know whether the extra demand will last for a week or six months.”
The company has About 5000 specialty coffee shop and café customers.
He supported the VFF’s recent remarks that there is enough milk production in Australia to meet consumer demand and there is no need to stockpile.
“Milk is flowing from the farm into the factories.”
In a cruel twist of fortune, the company has been selected as the official supplier of milk to the World Barrister championships which were to be held in Melbourne, but have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The competition focuses on promoting excellence in coffee, advancing the barista profession, and engaging a worldwide audience with an annual championship event.
Mr Collier said it was a huge honour to have their milks used in the championships and a reflection of the high regard in which Riverina Fresh milk was held in the specialty coffee industry.
The company has introduced protocols to minimise contact between staff and instructed its contract tanker drivers to introduce practices to minimise contact with farmers and their staff.
Riverina Fresh has suppliers mainly in the Riverina region of New South Wales as well as some in northern Victoria.
Dairy Australia and regional teams are currently working on industry-specific information to assist dairy farm businesses to manage changing workforce conditions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
This includes information abut:
Maintaining health and safety in the dairy industry
Legal obligations and responsibilities of employers
Rights and responsibilities of staff
Managing farm operations such as milking, calf management and feeding in changing workplace conditions
Working with contractors and suppliers
Protocols for tanker operators and farmers regarding milk pick-ups