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Tuesday, 24 August 2021 11:55

Only the chosen few

Written by  Staff Reporters
Spring Sheep Dairy chief executive Scottie Chapman. Spring Sheep Dairy chief executive Scottie Chapman.

Of the 600 people who attended a recent sheep milking field day run by Spring Sheep Dairy, 45 applied to be suppliers, but only five were accepted.

According to the chief executive and founder of the company, Scottie Chapman, they only needed an additional five suppliers to meet their market needs this year. Consequently, they were able to 'cherry pick' those he felt were best aligned with his company's values and objectives.

Chapman says the company is all about branded products and taking these through to market.

With new suppliers it is also about them having sheep with the right genetics to make sure they can run a profitable operation. He says many of the farms that are converting to sheep milking are farms that are too small to make a living on bovine, he told Rural News.

To that end, Spring Sheep Dairy is producing products at the top end of the range. Their flagship product is the infant formula follow-on, which is aimed at infants aged 6-12 months. They also have other infant formulas and a range of nutritional products.

“Our target market is Asian mothers who have children up to 10 years of age.”

Chapman says the market is challenging in the Covid environment. He says for business as usual, Zoom is fine, but when it comes to new products and innovation, face-to-face meetings are important. The company’s sales manager is now based in China.

In terms of the market, he says demand for high value sheep and goats milk products is booming, but there is pressure on the cheaper products.

“There is growth in the premium and super premium infant formula products, which is where we are positioned, and so we are pretty happy,” Chapman told Rural News.

“But some of the cheap sheep milk products coming out of Europe are inconsistent and some don’t even live up to the infant formula standard grade.”

He says in the case of infant formula, customers know when they buy Spring Sheep Dairy product that it is absolutely going to be up to spec.

“While people don’t like paying more, it’s very simple – you pay for quality or you deal with the repercussions and with something like infant formula you don’t take that risk.”

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