Maui's sheep milk on the global stage

After two international tradeshows, Maui Milk’s CEO Leah Davey says the company has gained an even deeper understanding of consumer needs, and behavioral trends. 

Pictured: Steve Farrelly and Leah Davey

Pictured: Steve Farrelly and Leah Davey

Exhibiting at trade shows is a great way to build brand awareness and to raise a business's profile in new markets. It’s an opportunity to meet face-to-face with potential customers to start building relationships, and after two years behind closed doors (so to speak), Maui Milk were looking forward to connecting with the world once again. 

In February, the New Zealand Government announced that New Zealanders would be able to return home without having to book a room in Managed Isolation. This was big news for Maui Milk and other New Zealand businesses itching to travel abroad to showcase their product, and to meet in person with prospective buyers. 

With this news, Leah Davey hit the play button and the team set off to plan and execute an exhibit at Natural Products Expo West in the US. Natural Products Expo West is a tradeshow for the natural, organic & healthy products industry and Maui Milk thought it was a suitable place to highlight New Zealand's finest natural product and superfood—what they believe to be sheep milk. 

FoodEx Japan

At about the same time, planning was already underway for Maui Milk to exhibit in Japan at FoodEx, the country's largest international food and beverage tradeshow. 

With Japan’s borders shut to international visitors, Steve Farrelly and Leah Davey had already been in discussion with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in Japan who referred them to a company on the ground there who would represent them at the show. Planning for a trade show in Japan would have its challenges, with accessibility to good translators being requisite, and one of the first things the Maui Milk team put in place. 

After four very busy days on the floor, and many great questions later Maui Milk is excited about the interest in Japan for their unique New Zealand sheep milk product.

Natural Products Expo West

As it happened, both tradeshows fell in the same week and Leah and Steve were flying out to the US, a couple of days before the show. As RAT’s were only just becoming available in NZ, it wasn’t until the last minute that both Steve and Leah could be tested for Covid using this method. It was a tumultuous time for all as they waited anxiously for the test results to be able to fly out of Auckland—they came back negative. 

Currently offering sheep milk powder and products as an ingredient to product developers in the food and drinks industry, Maui Milk’s offering was well received in both markets, with little to no competition in the categories they were targeting. 

“It was great to see and get to know other New Zealand businesses at Natural Products, like Tom & Luke and Taylor Pass Honey”, says Leah. She said she felt extreme pride to be able to represent New Zealand, our agricultural sector, our animals and all the great people that work our land.

For Steve it was his first time at Expo West and the sheer scale of the event was what blew him away. It is the largest event of its kind with over 3,500 exhibitors and 80,000 attendees. “It’s a super high energy atmosphere throughout the day. From the moment you get there your senses are under attack... from the smells of the great tasting food being sampled, through to the loud bands at the end of day networking events. It was a lot of fun and really worthwhile” says Steve. 

Recipe: In an ice-filled glass pour one part Kahlua coffee liqueur. Top with one part sheep milk & enjoy!

Recipe: In an ice-filled glass pour one part Kahlua coffee liqueur. Top with one part sheep milk & enjoy!

What’s next for Maui Milk?

The team are due to exhibit at Vitafoods Asia 2022 in Singapore in September. 

Vitafoods Asia is the premium platform where the nutraceutical, functional food and beverages, and dietary supplement industries come together to source quality products and ingredients and develop solutions which deliver optimal health. 

This will be the first time Maui Milk are entering this market, and they plan to take with them their own branded products. You can keep up to date with these developments and more on Maui Milk’s social channels. Facebook | LinkedIn

Contact us

For sales and distribution enquiries, email info@mauimilk.co.nz


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