Expanding to meet retail demand

By Dairy News

By Jeanette Severs

A unique milk retail product, marketed as raw and drinkable, is about to scale up and diversify to meet Australian and overseas interest, that sees it looking for new suppliers.

In November, Made by Cow released a triple-cream brie, broadening its range from cold-pressed liquid milk, and agreed to a move into flavoured milk to meet retail demand.

The company’s expectation is that will increase product supply by 300 per cent, according to chief executive officer Wade Porter.

The Made By Cow brand is unique in Australia, a high pressure processed (HPP) liquid produced from the milk supplied by a single Jersey herd and sold in 1.5 litre bottles. It is marketed as raw milk, because it is not heat pasteurised.

However, the NSW Food Authority approved the new product as a food product after a 12-week testing schedule, Mr Porter said.

“We received food authority approval for the product, with a lifetime of six weeks, but operate on a 28-day use-by date,” he said.

“The raw liquid milk is poured straight into high-density polyethylene bottles, sealed and put through the processor.”

The machine is the same used for high pressure processing of meat, particularly chicken, juice and airline food.

“HPP technology creates shelf life, that enables a company to produce food without preservatives and other additives,” Mr Porter said.

“We had a look at the milk category and identified an opportunity for a long-life capacity.

“Our technology was able to knock out the bigger bacteria, but the smaller enzymes and nutrients are able to thrive, because they survive the pressure of cold applied at 12 000 kg/cm squared.”

The liquid milk product was recently picked up by Lion Nathan, to distribute across 12 000 retail outlets in Australia.

Growing consumer interest saw Made By Cow launch a triple-cream brie, manufactured in the Hunter Valley, in November.

The business will also diversify into flavoured milk drinks by the end of this year.

There is now export interest, particularly given the longevity of the product.

The single origin Jersey herd, based at Berri in NSW, is no longer enough to supply an increased demand for the Made By Cow products.

“We’re working through some export opportunities in the Singapore region, Malaysia, Hong Kong; they are interested in our product because it fits within their open regulatory environment,” Mr Porter said.

Scaling up product, the manufacturers expect to be operating six-days-a-week, continue to lease equipment and premises at Homebush in Sydney and expanding into a Melbourne processor.

Up until now, Made By Cow has been marketed as single origin milk, from Jersey cows milked on a Berri farm.

They are currently only buying 10 to 15 per cent of the milk produced on that farm, Mr Porter said.

They are now looking for more suppliers to meet forecast increased demand, and milk from Friesian herds too, even though it means they will no longer be marketing their milk as single origin.

“We’ll need to find more suppliers to prepare ourselves for scale. We forecast we’ll be increasing our current business by 300 per cent, through the diversified range and the increase in product going into 12 000 stores,” Mr Porter said.