Aimee Shaw is a business reporter focusing on small business

Fine foods company Kapiti launches organic milk product sourced from Manawatu farm

Owners and family members of Manawatu-based Flipps Organic Farm. Photo / Vanessa Wu
Owners and family members of Manawatu-based Flipps Organic Farm. Photo / Vanessa Wu

The brand best-known for its ice cream and cheese has launched an organic milk range sourced from a single farm.

Kapiti says its newest product is the result of the global trend of consumers wanting to know where their food and drink comes from.

"There's been a lot of publicity around food scares and transparency of supply chains from various parts of the industry, and what we recognised is that consumers want to know exactly where their food comes from and they want to know it's legitimate," Kevin Taffs, marketing manager for Kapiti, said.

"For us it's really about being able to tell that story; it's a single farm, it's local and consumers know exactly where it comes from."

Kapiti's shift to single-farm milk is the first mass-produced release in New Zealand.

The Flipp Organic Farm in Oroua Downs, Manawatu, was chosen to supply the milk for the product not only because of its organic certification, but because the farm could meet demand.

"They're really passionate about being organic farmers, and the size of the farm; they've got over 600 cows so they can actually supply volumes that we need to make the single source claim."

The 508 ha farm was originally 111ha when Mark Flipp's parents Bill and Anne bought it in 1980.

Mark Flipp, current owner of the fourth-generation dairy farm, said being organically-certified meant he was able to run the farm the way his family always had.

"It's about being self-sufficient. We produce virtually everything we need on the farm. It took three years to become organically certified. The regulations and standards are very rigorous, but nothing good comes from anything easy," Flipp said. "We're really proud to be able to share the milk that we enjoy on the farm with the rest of New Zealand. We've stayed true to our roots working with the land and the weather to make the best milk we can. Some people might even find the milk tastes sweeter due to the organic fertiliser we use."

Organic, traceable products are increasing in popularity in New Zealand.

Two out of three Kiwis buy organic, equating to $217 million spend every year, with 70 per cent of people buying the products for health benefits.

With nearly all growth in the milk market coming from organic products, Taffs said he expected growth to continue.

We're really proud to be able to share the milk that we enjoy on the farm with the rest of New Zealand.
Mark Flipp, owner of Manawatu-based Flipp Organic Farm

"Organic milk has doubled, it's gone from 3 per cent of fresh white milk sales to 6 per cent, so there's definitely a demand from consumers in terms of the shift towards more organic products.

"It's still only 6 per cent so I don't think it's going to necessarily replace everyday standard milk as we know it today, but what I think we're going to see is a continuation and strong growth in that segment of the market."

Feedback from those at annual farming event Fieldays had been positive, he said.

"It's great for farmers to start to see, particularly from a domestic point of view, their own milk making it into the market. A lot of the milk that's produced gets exported so for these guys to see their milk on shelves is a really positive thing."

Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk is available in all major supermarkets.

- NZ Herald

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