Fonterra has started consulting its 10,000 farmer shareholders on potential changes to its capital structure.
Two products – Anchor Uno yoghurt for kids and Anchor Greek yoghurt – were launched over the past eight months to a fantastic response from consumers, according to Fonterra Brands New Zealand managing director Tim Deane.
Deane says Fonterra Brands now dominates the kids’ yoghurt market; its high-protein low-fat Greek yoghurt is also popular. “There is a high demand for our yoghurts and we have hit a sweet spot,” Deane told Dairy News.
Also, the nationwide launch of Anchor organic milk this month enables the co-op to put the product within the reach of every consumer.
Deane says that with other organic milk brands only available in certain regions or very expensive, Anchor is on a mission to make organic milk more widely available at a fair price, though its product costs slightly more than conventional milk.
“We want to put organic milk in reach of more New Zealanders… through our nationwide distribution and [pricing] Anchor Organic… at only about 20 cents extra per glass compared to our standard Anchor milk.
“All dairy farming is challenging, hard work. However, organic farming costs more so we have to pay more for the milk. We also have the added complexity of keeping the milk separate during collection and bottling. So a lot of effort on and off the farm goes into creating a certified organic product.”
Organic milk consumption in New Zealand is far behind other countries; only 2.5% of the total milk we consume is organic, versus 8% in the UK and 15% in the US.
Deane says for 18 months demand has grown for organic milk, “so we decided to provide organic milk throughout the country at a fair price.”
He says 72% of Kiwis tell Fonterra that if organic milk was more affordable they would buy it more often. A further 25% say if it was available in their regular supermarket that would also make a difference.
“The total organic food and beverage market is now worth $133 million and the amount of organic milk sold domestically over the past year has increased by 50%.”
Anchor Organic milk drinkers will be able to trace their milk from the fridge back to the farms it comes from.
“Our organic milk is sourced from Fonterra organic farmers in Manawatu. We can pinpoint the farms where our organic milk comes from and follow it from the farm right through to the supermarket shelf…. That’s a point of difference between us and some organic brands that use third parties to bottle their milk,” says Deane.
Mark Flipp, a Manawatu Fonterra farmer supplying milk for Anchor Organic, says he’s excited to see his milk sold under the Anchor brand. His family farm was certified organic in 2010.
“People talk about when we converted our farm to an organic operation. However, for us getting certified was more about continuing to farm the way our family always had.
“Being an organic farmer is about seeing our farm as the land within our fenceline and rather than bringing in supplies from elsewhere we produce everything we need within that fenceline. In other words we’re self-sufficient.”
Anchor Organic milk is marketed carrying Blue or Green labels in recyclable lightproof bottles.