Former All Black Kevin Schuler says diversifying the family farm with his brother Paul into three milking systems – cows, goats and sheep – is all about creating a better and stable business.
The first product will be Spring Sheep’s full cream sheep milk powder.
It is now available at Aelia Duty Free stores in Auckland and will be followed by select supermarkets in early 2020. It will be sold in convenient 350g and 850g resealable pouches.
Shortly the company will also roll out its premium toddler and infant formula range to New Zealand and Australia.
The company owned by Pamu and agri investment company SLC was established in 2015. The last four years have seen Spring Sheep launched into multiple export markets, including Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, with various high value sheep milk products.
Spring Sheep’s chief executive Scottie Chapman says sheep milk is a traditional milk that has been around for thousands of years and is popular throughout Europe.
Most of the global sheep milk supply goes into cheese production, but now people are starting to see how its digestibility, nutrition and taste attributes make it ideal for other products.
“Consumers are becoming more educated and aware of the different options available and are actively looking for alternatives with beneficial health properties,” he said.
Andrea Wilkins, Spring Sheep’s marketing and innovation director, says they started by launching products into the Asian markets where there is a strong latent awareness of the benefits of sheep milk and research showed demand for quality specialty dairy products.
“In New Zealand, most people associate sheep with high-value wool and high-quality meat, but this is changing.
“We’re thrilled to see the growing interest in sheep milk locally,” she said.
As Kiwis have become more aware, they have seen a dramatic increase in people asking where they can buy grass-fed New Zealand sheep milk.
“Most have issues digesting cow milk or have children who cannot tolerate cow milk. They’re looking for a natural alternative that has great nutritional benefits.”
Spring Sheep powder is produced from sheep grown in Taupo and Cambridge.