Dairy Dialog podcast 47: Somerdale International, BrainMilk and Vegware

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: China, Costco, Cheese, walnuts, Packaging, compostable packaging

This week’s podcast features three interviews, with Stephen Jones, managing director of Somerdale International, whose cheeses have made it in to Costco’s first store in China; Aarti Arora-McLean, brand communications lead at Scottish eco-friendly packaging company Vegware about their new gelato cups; and Dr Jordan Balencic, CEO and founder of ERApeutics, developers of a new walnut-based functional beverage, BrainMilk. We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Liam Fenton from INTL FCStone.

British Cheese on the shelves of Costco’s first store in China

Costco, the membership warehouse club retailer with more than 770 global locations, is opening its first store in China and British cheese is set to be part of its great food offering. 

The new warehouse, in the Minhang district of Shanghai, opened on August 27, and quickly closed due to crowds of customers.  It has already attracted a record number of membership applications from Chinese consumers and businesses. 

As part of the new Costco store’s food selection, a range of British cheese will be on offer.  The range supplied by Somerdale International, the leading exporter of British cheese and dairy products, will initially include:

Coastal Cheddar - a mature cheddar produced and matured at the Ford Farm Dairy, located on the word heritage Jurassic Coastline of Dorset.

Il Truffelino – Somerdale’s Il Truffelino combines the texture of English cheddar with the flavor of Black Summer Truffle.

 Wensleydale & Cranberry - Wensleydale is one of the oldest English cheese varieties dating back to the 11th century. Wensleydale has a natural sweet acidity that complements fruit, best of all cranberries.

Mexicana, the UK’s best-selling spicy cheese, mixes bell and jalapeno peppers with British cheddar. Made by Norseland, Mexicana will be listed in the new Costco Shanghai store in a 180g slices pack.

There will also be a Somerdale ‘Best of British Cheese’ four-cheese selection-pack.

costco china

Alexander Macdonald, director of LondonFood Ltd, Somerdale’s associate partner in China, said, “We are very much looking forward to promoting  Somerdale International's fantastic range of British cheeses in the first of what, I believe, will be many Costco stores in China.

“The new Shanghai store is in a great location and even before opening it has seen a record number of membership applications.  It has been a great experience working with the Costco team here in China.  We have focused on ensuring that the British cheese we are offering is tailored to local demand requirements and we are confident that the sales will be significant.”

Stephen Jones, managing director of Somerdale International, said, “Costco is one of the world’s most successful retailers.  Having already established a strong relationship with Costco in Australia, we are delighted that our British cheese will be part of the food offer in their first store in China.

“There is an increasing demand for high quality British food in China and we are witnessing increasing interest in British cheese and dairy products. We have a great story to tell in relation to product quality, environmental standards & provenance and, last but not least, the great taste of our cheeses.”

New sustainable gelato pots

UK sustainable packaging company Vegware has launched a range of eco-friendly 4oz gelato pots.

The company said the sturdy and leak-proof product is suitable for cold gelatos, ice creams and sorbets, but can also be used for warm desserts, snacks, sides or sauces.

The design features the company’s Green Leaf band and on-pack eco messaging to show a commitment to sustainability.

Made from sustainably-sourced board with a plant-based PLA lining, the pots are commercially compostable with food waste where accepted. 

Vegware sells more than 300 different packaging products in more than 70 countries around the world.

Walnut based BrainMilk

A new walnut milk alternative is in the works from Erapeutics, a cognitive health supplements company. Founded by physician Dr Jordan Balencic and Tessa Balencic, Erapeutics will launch BrainMilk in early 2020.

It leverages the health benefits of walnuts, including antioxidants, polyphenols and omega 3 fatty acids. Balencic considers the walnut to be a superior base for plant alternatives than leading almond, coconut and soy products. BrainMilk will be available in 12oz bottles in three varieties--blueberry, turmeric ginger and coffee flour/cascara.

Balencic said BrainMilk received an investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners to assist in its development. This will consist of research and an upcoming clinical trial to study the effects, led by Dr Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State University.

"We will run a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of BrainMilk’s benefits in cognition in elderly people. Our hypothesis is that it will benefit cognition,”​ Kris-Etherton said.

“I'm excited to be part of the BrainMilk clinical trial because many research studies have shown the multiple health benefits of walnuts as they relate to so many major diseases that affect Americans.”

Balencic said, "BrainMilk will be one of the first cognitive health or functional beverages to be launched with academic research supporting the actual product itself. Some beverage companies make claims by citing independent studies on just one or more of the ingredients in the product.”

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