Though another year of Covid disruptions has been felt in our business this year, we continue to forge forward in our key markets abroad, proud to be representing the New Zealand dairy industry with our nutritious, natural sheep milk powder and products.
Maui Milk exhibits in the US and Japan
The minute New Zealand opened its borders to NZ citizens, Maui Milk secured booth spaces in Japan and the US, and within weeks the team was off to showcase sheep milk powder as an ingredient to a global stage.
We exhibited at FoodEx Japan, an annual international food and beverage trade show in Tokyo. Not able to travel to Japan due to border restrictions in place there at the time, Maui Milk enlisted help from a partner on the ground to represent us for the 4 days. Well attended by nationals, the team made inroads into the pet food industry, as well as in food service.
Around the same time Steve, our Sales and Marketing Manager, and then-CEO Leah Davey were on a plane headed for Anaheim in the US. The experience of planning two trade show booths and collateral in a number of weeks was exciting and a learning curve, according to the Marketing team. Natural Products Expo is a tradeshow for the natural, organic & healthy products industry and we couldn’t wait to showcase New Zealand's finest natural product and superfood—sheep milk!
“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 the day at networking events. It was a lot of fun and really worthwhile,” says Steve.
Since the tradeshow, Maui Milk have been working with a number of customers on production and continue to receive a steady flow of inquiries from the region.
More milk than ever before
It’s been another big and exciting year in the Milk Supply space with milk volumes up significantly on previous years.
Lambing started in July which is the Maui Milk teams favourite time of year (as you can imagine with lambs a plenty), marking the start of the milk supply season which runs from July – April each year. New Zealand operates a seasonal farming model to make sure that our animals can be pasture fed all year round to produce the world class milk and other dairy products one has come to expect from our region.
We are really grateful to our milk suppliers who have made a huge effort to ensure their milk quality is among the best in the world. As we continue to build up our pool, this year we welcomed one new supplier and we’re chuffed to report that they're off to a great start. Milk quality is key to our success overseas as it means that we can confidently deliver our promise of premium sheep milk powder to our customers.
The season has not been without its challenges but our suppliers are willing and we continue to learn and improve together as we start to plan for next season.
Supply chain verification with AsureQuality’s transparency mark
Maui Milk is NZ’s only sheep milk company to have gained the AQ transparency mark through AsureQuality, a New Zealand government agency. Next year we will have QR codes on our AQ Assured™ product packs, that will take you to the AQ website landing pages with information on specific product claims and the full supply chain story verified by AsureQuality.
Greg Hamill appointed CEO of Maui Milk & Southern Cross Dairy Sheep
“It’s been an absolute pleasure becoming part of the Maui Milk team in the beginning of the year,” says Greg. 2022 has been an extremely busy year for Greg learning the intricacies of the sheep milking industry and sharing in the success of Maui Food Group, which included winning NZ business of the year at the Chinese Business Club Awards.
“Having seen a record year of milk production, we expect to surpass those numbers again next year with the continued genetic improvement achieved with our nucleus flock,” says Greg.
Attributing attending various Trade Shows over the year to the new opportunities and new customer relationships the company are seeing now as we secure new business. As 2022 nears completion Greg says he is looking forward to seeing what this innovative business can achieve in 2023.
Taking New Zealand sheep milk to South East Asia
We exhibited at Vitafoods Asia in Bangkok in early October, among hundreds of international suppliers across the nutraceutical and food and beverage industries. This has been our most eventful trade show to date, helping us to secure B2B distributors in Vietnam, South Korea with interest in Malaysia, and consumer interest in Thailand.
Maui Food Group launches new sheep milk drinks at CIIE
The China International Import Expo (CIIE) is a tradeshow held annually since 2018 in Shanghai, China. It is essentially an import-themed national-level expo and features exhibitions from international and local businesses.
This year, Maui Milk’s parent company Maui Food Group had a booth at CIIE, representing all aspects of the business from Maui Milk’s unique Southern Cross dairy sheep breed, to the high quality milk they produce, and the milk powder manufactured for their customers in China and South East Asia.
CIIE also provided an opportunity for Maui Food Group to showcase their consumer facing Maui brand, already well known in China. Their range consists of pure sheep milk powder drinks, and new supplemented sheep milk offerings with a focus on brain and cognitive health, and probiotic infusions.
After 5 days at the exhibit and many networking events in between, Maui Food Group reported a successful show overall—with the launch of two new skus gaining interest in an emerging market where consumers are seeking for natural, gut-friendly and high protein dairy options.
Since the event, activity is up and we currently have a ship of Maui Milk’s sheep milk powder on the water headed for China.
Getting the teams together
He aha ngā mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he whenua, he kararehe! What are the most important things in our world?—The people, the land and the animals. At Maui Milk we truly believe that if we fail to care for either of these things, the others will suffer.
After a busy year, it was time to celebrate the group. The teams from Maui Milk and Southern Cross Dairy Sheep met at a lake between Hamilton and Waihāhā (western banks of Lake Taupō) for our end-of-year BBQ and water sports. “I liked getting to know the Southern Cross Dairy Sheep team, and to hear about the genetics work taking place on the farm” said Kyle, Maui Milk’s Supply Chain Manager.
With the Maui Milk team based in Hamilton, and the Southern Cross team out on farm at Waikino Station, it was a great opportunity to connect.
2023 and beyond
In 2023 we will see our “dairy superfood” used in a variety of other applications.
Beyond infant formula, our sheep whole milk powder (sheep full cream milk powder) is also the perfect ingredient for elderly food supplements. Steve Farrelly says its already widely known that this demographic continues to grow particularly in countries like China, Japan and South Korea. Sheep milk’s nutritional benefits of increased immunity and improved cognitive function help to address the needs of seniors and the ageing population.
As the health benefits of sheep milk become better-known and accepted, we expect to see increasing demand in each of our key target markets.
A big thanks to our business partners
We wanted to highlight all the businesses walking alongside us on this journey, and to say a special thank you for the collaboration this year. See you all in 2023!