Goat dairies are get­ting a lit­tle less lonely

Executive Magazine - - Business | Dairies -

Dairies con­tinue to move into new lines, with Khoury Dairy ex­pand­ing its goat dairy pro­duc­tion, while a new firm, Gout­blanc, is solely fo­cused on goat dairy.

Goat dairy prod­ucts are popular in the coun­try­side, but have not made the same in­roads com­mer­cially. Hold­ing such devel­op­ment back was a hy­giene scan­dal with small scale pro­duc­tion some 30 years ago that has lin­gered in con­sumers’ minds; dairies have tried be­fore to set up com­mer­cial goat farms but could not find a vi­able mar­ket. As a re­sult, the founders of Gout­blanc started rais­ing 60 goats as a trial in 2006, and only started sell­ing on the mar­ket in late 2014 once they had 600 milk­ing fe­males and felt there was enough niche de­mand.

Ac­cord­ing to Mazen Khoury, pro­duc­tion manager at Khoury Dairy, goat prod­ucts are less than 10 per­cent of the Le­banese dairy mar­ket, but are set to be­come a trend. The dairy has some 3,000 goats, and the firm is ex­pand­ing pro­duc­tion of cheese. Mar­ket leader Taanayel Les Fer­mes also pro­duces goat prod­ucts, but only Khoury and Gout­blanc have au­to­mated goat milk­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Gout­blanc is bank­ing on the rise in con­sump­tion of dairy prod­ucts to help drive de­mand as con­sumers di­ver­sify their tastes. “Mar­ket­ing has changed peo­ple’s habits and the tra­di­tion of eat­ing food, and we are catch­ing up in terms of [goat dairy] con­sump­tion with Europe and the world. So in our think­ing, the Le­banese con­sumer will catch up, goat dairy pro­duce will be­come a trend and we will be able to pro­duce liq­uid goat milk,” says Walid Bou Habib, the com­pany’s owner and gen­eral manager. He ex­pects a re­turn on their in­vest­ment of $2.5 mil­lion within three years.

Aware of the re­newed fo­cus among the public about hy­giene con­di­tions, Gout­blanc built its fa­cil­ity in An­naya ac­cord­ing to spec­i­fi­ca­tions from French stan­dards body AFNOR while Ji­had Da­her, a trained agri­cul­tural en­gi­neer and the dairy’s tech­ni­cal manager, has spent sev­eral years in­volved in goat hus­bandry. “A prob­lem here is there’s no sci­en­tific sup­port or vets spe­cial­ized in goats, so we need to con­trol all of that our­selves,” says Da­her.

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