Maui Milk proves to be ‘the next big thing in NZ mainstream health’

Maui Milk proves to be the next big thing in NZ health industry
The amazing team behind Maui Milk, the newest health trend in NZ.

Maui Milk was born in 2014 out of a very simple belief that New Zealand has all the ingredients necessary to create a better, more nutritious and more sustainable dairy product for the world using sheep milk.

Since pioneering New Zealand’s exportation of whole milk sheep powder in 2015, Maui Milk has continued to focus on the genetic gain of its nucleus and supplier flocks. This season Maui Milk expects to produce between 3.5 and 4.0 million litres across its supplier pool.

The nucleus farm is expected to break the 400 litres per ewe mark this year, and the company believes that will be the first flock in New Zealand to do that with the top ewes expected to exceed 700 litres each.

Sister company Southern Cross is the genetics arm of our business. The programme utilises Southern Cross™ dairy sheep technology incorporating the world’s leading dairy genetics, to develop ewes that are optimised for sheep milk supply in New Zealand conditions. This year, Maui Milk was a finalist in the annual Primary Industries New Zealand Awards.

“When looking at the categories, the Award’s Science and Research category was the best-suited category,” says Greg.

Company CEO Greg Hamill says he wanted to specifically acknowledge the work Maui Milk’s internal geneticists, led by Marion Benoit, had undertaken around developing an index that ranked ewes and rams on their expected ability to breed profitable and efficient replacements.

“When looking at the categories, the Award’s Science and Research category was the best-suited category,” says Greg. “Basically 99% of our milk is dried into either whole milk powder or skim milk powder and sold to our customers and then turned into products that are later sold to consumers, so we are what is known as a B2B (Business to Business) operation.”

“Our team is dedicated to making our business successful for our farmers and our shareholders. Currently, we do not have any retail products available here in New Zealand, so it is important for us as a business to increase our presence in the primary sector to help promote our products and brand worldwide. So, the Primary Industry Awards also provided an opportunity to lift our profile.”

An independently owned company, Maui Milk is located at Innovation Park, Hamilton, which is also where the dryer for its processing is sited.

The company has fourteen suppliers in the Waikato region, including its own nucleus breeding farm on the shore of Lake Taupo. It is this farm that the Southern Cross™ Index was able to be developed utilising all the data information points that the company collects.

Greg acknowledges that while the production and genetic gain of the ewes is extremely important, it isn’t all about production. “We must also ensure we are breeding ewes for our suppliers that handle a New Zealand grass-based system with udders, conformation and legs that handle our topography.”

“All our suppliers milk the Southern Cross™ breed of sheep, a composite breed that we have bred up using genetics from Lacaune, East Friesian and Coopworth, utilising the traits that we believe are the best traits for milking ewes for the New Zealand system.”

Sheep milk as a dairy option has been around for centuries. Maui Sheep Milk New Zealand’s grass-fed sheep milk is not only mild and creamy in taste, but also highly nutritious, and because it’s so easily and quickly digested it supports gut health and is a gentle alternative to goat and cow’s milk.

“We believe it’s the next big thing in mainstream health,” says Greg. “With approximately double the protein content than cow or goat milk, drinking sheep milk is a great way to help you to get your regular daily allowance in.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2023 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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