The news has gone from bad to worse for a2 Milk - the company Synlait had hitched its wagon to.
The Synlait Swappa Bottle, launched last week, is a 1.5 litre reusable stainless steel bottle of homogenised milk, exclusively sourced from the company's highest performing farms - based on land stewardship, staff care and animal welfare.
The company says the Synlait Swappa Bottle concept is simple - drink, return, repeat. Consumers purchase a Synlait Swappa Bottle then return the empty bottle and lid to the store, reducing waste and eliminating plastic packaging.
Synlait director sustainability & brand Hamish Reid says the product is all about reducing plastic waste.
"In the things that we choose to eat and drink, we support the future we want to see. New Zealanders have been telling us for years that they are deeply concerned about plastic waste, but in milk, there haven't been many options."
Synlait Swappa Bottles are initially being launched in two South Island New World stores, with plans to widen distribution over time.
Synlait has signalled its intention to move closer to the consumer for some time. Its acquisition of Dairyworks in 2019 was the start of this. It says adding a Synlait-branded product strengthens and complements its current business portfolio and expertise.
"There's an opportunity for reusables to play a much bigger role in New Zealanders' food and beverage future, as they are already in Europe and the US," says Reid. "In launching Synlait Swappa Bottle - a refillable, stainless-steel bottle that can be reused time and time again - we're hoping to trigger change."
The Synlait Swappa Bottle carries the B-Corp stamp representing Synlait's 2020 certification.