Sheep milk boosted by part­ner­ship

Waipa Post - - The Country -

Due to pre­dicted growth in the sheep milk in­dus­try, Food Waikato has in­vested in a new com­pany, Melody Dairies Ltd Part­ner­ship. This in­vest­ment will boost the nutri­tional spray dry­ing ca­pac­ity at Waikato In­no­va­tion Park in Hamil­ton.

Melody Dairies’ four in­vest­ment part­ners will jointly fi­nance and build a sec­ond spray dryer at the park, which will be man­aged by Food Waikato.

The four part­ners are Nu-Mega In­gre­di­ents (NZ) Lim­ited, a com­pany owned by Clover Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd, with a 35 per cent stake in Melody Dairies; Land­corp Farm­ing Lim­ited, with a 35 per cent in the part­ner­ship; Dairy Nu­traceu­ti­cals Lim­ited, with a 20 per cent share; and Food Waikato, also known as New Zealand Food In­no­va­tion Waikato, with a 10 per cent share.

Clover Cor­po­ra­tion is an Aus­tralian com­pany listed on the Aus­tralian Stock Ex­change. It is known for its range of patented mi­croen­cap­su­lated prod­ucts con­tain­ing omega three oils, cre­ated through the spray dry­ing process, used in the man­u­fac­ture of high-qual­ity in­fant for­mula.

“We are de­lighted to at­tract an in­vestor of this cal­i­bre who has leadingedge, pa­tent tech­nol­ogy in the spe­cial­ist in­gre­di­ents area,” said Food Waikato CEO Stu­art Gor­don.

“We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing the strong re­la­tion­ship we al­ready have with Clover Cor­po­ra­tion.”

Clover Cor­po­ra­tion have been a cus­tomer of Food Waikato since 2014, reg­u­larly util­is­ing the first spray dryer built at the park.

Clover Cor­po­ra­tion’s CEO and manag­ing di­rec­tor, Peter Davey, said its in­vest­ment in Food Waikato will help the com­pany meet the fast-grow­ing de­mand for its prod­ucts from both the in­fant for­mula and func­tional food mar­kets. The part­ner­ship al­lows Clover use of the fa­cil­ity for spray dry­ing its prod­ucts.

The in­vest­ment from other part­ners, Land­corp and Dairy Nu­traceu­ti­cals Lim­ited (DNL), is also sig­nif­i­cant for Food Waikato.

“It’s a mega coup for us as Land­corp im­ple­ment their Pa¯mu Farms of New Zealand brand strat­egy, in par­tic­u­lar their joint ven­ture with Spring Sheep Milk Com­pany,” said Stu­art.

Pa¯mu is the brand name for the govern­ment Sta­te­Owned En­ter­prise (SOE) Land­corp Farm­ing Lim­ited which owns a na­tion­wide port­fo­lio of farms in­clud­ing sheep farms. They are part­ners in Spring Sheep Milk Com­pany, a bou­tique nu­tri­tion com­pany which cre­ates and ex­ports high­value branded nu­tri­tion food prod­ucts made from sheep milk.

Stu­art said that the sheep milk in­dus­try was ex­pected to dou­ble in size by the year 2021, and a new spray dryer will be in de­mand.

“Dairy Nu­traceu­ti­cals Lim­ited have just built a state-of-the-art blend­ing and pack­ing plant in Auck­land, and they also lead the way in tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion, so it’s an ideal part­ner­ship.”

Es­tab­lished in 2016, DNL is a New Zealand-based dairy pro­cess­ing and nutri­tional food man­u­fac­turer with a fo­cus on in­no­va­tion and pi­o­neer­ing new prod­ucts to lo­cal and global mar­kets.

The Food Waikato plant opened in May 2012. The ex­ist­ing open ac­cess devel­op­ment dryer is run­ning at ca­pac­ity, with 300 days of pro­duc­tion for the year to June 2018, pro­duc­ing $51 mil­lion in ex­port prod­uct for the year.

The ex­ist­ing dryer will con­tinue to be avail­able to de­velop new busi­nesses and prod­ucts, with in­creased ca­pac­ity avail­able through trans­fer of some clients to the new dryer, due to Food Waikato’s 10 per cent own­er­ship of ca­pac­ity in it.

The new $50 mil­lion in­dus­trial spray dryer will be built along­side the ex­ist­ing dryer and will have 2.4 times its ca­pac­ity. It is pro­jected to de­liver $129 mil­lion in ex­ports a year.

“This is an ex­cit­ing mo­ment for the growth of the sheep milk in­dus­try, and we are proud to be part of that growth,” said Stu­art.

He said that sheep milk had “three key points of dif­fer­ence” which was help­ing to drive its com­mer­cial and ex­port ap­peal.

“There is emerg­ing ev­i­dence of a lower en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print than bovine dairy; there is ev­i­dence that sheep’s milk is more eas­ily di­gested than cow’s milk; and it has a great taste,” said Stu­art.

He was proud of the work that Food Waikato had al­ready achieved for the in­dus­try.

“The Food Waikato plant has be­come a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for the in­dus­try, and we have sup­ported many com­pa­nies with their prod­uct devel­op­ment to take high-qual­ity New Zealand food in­no­va­tions to a global mar­ket,” said Stu­art.

The new dryer will be de­signed and built by Waikato In­no­va­tion Park ten­ant com­pany Tetra Pak, and con­struc­tion will be­gin in late 2018.

Stu­art said the spray dryer will be up and run­ning by De­cem­ber 2019.

Once com­pleted it is ex­pected em­ploy­ment at the plant will grow from 17 to 35 staff.

Photo / Sup­plied

Food Waikato CEO Stu­art Gor­don

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