Dairy Dialog podcast 65: Spring Sheep Milk Company, DMI and IDF

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dairy, Milk, sheep milk, school meals

We have three guests this week on the Dairy Dialog podcast.

We chatted with Nick Hammond, COO of New Zealand’s Spring Sheep Milk Company; Paul Ziemnisky, executive VP of global sales and innovation at Dairy Management Inc.; and Marietha Vermaak, nutritionist and leader of the IDF Action Team on School Milk.  We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Charlie Hyland, at INTL FCStone’s Dublin branch.

Spring Sheep Milk Company

On last week’s podcast, we spoke with Dr Amber Milan about recent studies on the properties of sheep milk. This time around, we spoke about the commercial side of the sheep milk industry with Nick Hammond, COO of New Zealand’s Spring Sheep Milk Company.

Spring Sheep Milk Co. is a global producer and marketer of sheep milk products. It markets its products under the brand Spring Sheep New Zealand. It currently produces a range of branded products including infant formula and adult products and has started selling these products to a range of countries including New Zealand and several countries in Asia.

The company announced recently that it is seeking a Strategic Demand Partner to assist the growth of its products, particularly in Asia and China. 

Spring Sheep chief executive, Scottie Chapman, said that after several years of developing a milk supply model and product range, the business is positioned for growth as it ramps up its nutritional and infant formula sales. 

“We are now at a point that our milk supply will scale quickly over the next few years. There is growing interest in our sheep milk products, particularly in Asia,”​ Chapman said.   

“We would like to partner with a global or regional dairy player who can assist us to realize this exciting future market opportunity.”  

Spring Sheep is a 50/50 joint venture between Pāmu (Landcorp, a state owned enterprise), and SLC Ventures L.P. (a private investment fund).

Milk can stay strong, says DMI

Following the bankruptcy filings of Borden Dairy and Dean Foods in the last few months, the US dairy industry has been on edge.

Paul Ziemnisky, executive VP of global sales and innovation at Dairy Management Inc (DMI), spoke to DairyReporter about how the future of fluid milk can remain strong.

Ziemnisky emphasized that the industry needs to do a better job of conveying dairy’s power, and innovating for new usage occasions. He recommends looking to the growth pattern of coffee and water to emulate for milk. Consumers are willing to pay for taste, flavor and function, but “in milk we’re only just starting to tap it,” Ziemnisky said.

“The category’s got to get much more consumer-centric in their messaging and marketing of usage and innovation.”

The top milk products in the US continue to come from in-house retailer brands (Walmart, Kroger, Aldi, etc.). Ziemnisky thinks more focus on retail partnerships is critical. Value-added milk like high-protein, flavored, DHA and lactose-free have all out-performed plant-based alternatives in the last five years.

But retailers aren’t being made aware of dairy’s success, and they continue to carve out shelf space for the plant alternatives. Milk accounts for 20% of consumer beverage occasions, but it’s largely left out of grab-and-go sections. Ziemnisky said the fluid milk industry needs to transform its education and advertising in retail, because there’s significant room for growth in the category.

School milk programs continue to be important

The International Dairy Federation (IDF) celebrated World School Milk Day at the IDF World Dairy Summit 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey, by announcing a review of global school milk programs. 

Following its previous research into the area, the IDF announced the development of a new bulletin into school milk programs.

The publication, which will be issued in March 2020, compiles data on different programs around the world, providing insights on the range of products, along with raw data and a literature review.  School milk programs are common in many countries around the world.  

The report provides insights on the range of products, implementation and population, accompanied by raw data.

In addition, the new edition also includes a review on the evidence of the nutritional benefits of these programs, offering new insights into the global impact of SMP.

At the IDF Summit, Maretha Vermaak, nutritionist and leader of the IDF Action Team on School Milk, said of the project, “It is vital that IGO’s and government recognize the importance of school milk programs in promoting good health in our children, and the data will also be invaluable to those wishing to implement school milk programs in their country.”​ 

The new edition also will include a review on the evidence of the nutritional benefits of these programs, offering new perspectives into the global impact of SMP. The report will explore implementation, administration, promotion, nutrition and other aspects, and is intended to be a source of information for managers of school milk programs worldwide.





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