Wednesday, 04 March 2015 00:00

Taste will be the driver

Written by 
Dr Abby Thompson Dr Abby Thompson

Sheep milk products will sell only if the consumer likes the taste.

 Dr Abby Thompson, food innovation manager at the Riddet Institute, Palmerston North, and her team at the conference handed out samples of sheep milk products. These included yoghurt and several ice-cream varieties that proved popular with attendees.

Thompson, a food scientist, says most consumers will choose a sheep milk product on the basis of its taste, wholesome heritage and because it’s a ‘bit different’ – a neat product.

“Sheep milk products fit the idea of food culture or heritage that is becoming increasingly popular around the world,” she told Rural News.  

“An example is the slow food movement: enjoying our food, taking pleasure in it and appreciating what has happened to bring it to our table – including the farmers milking the sheep and people transforming it into ice-cream or cheese.” 

She perceives an image problem for sheep milk products in New Zealand: they are not what many consumers would instinctively associate with great tasting, good quality food. So for a sheep milk industry to succeed, most of its products would be for export – a view shared by most attending the conference.    

On developing sheep milk products, Thompson says there are “science challenges”.

“The higher levels of protein mean that there are potential precipitation issues when you freeze or heat the milk.  But on the other hand, the increased levels of fat and protein means there is effectively ‘less water’ in sheep milk than in cow milk, enabling you to take the milk straight from the sheep and make it into thick creamy yoghurts and beautiful gelatos without having to add extra cream.”

A food product must simultaneously appeal to the consumer’s heart, tongue and head.

More like this

Better late, than never!

Noted animal geneticist Dr Jock Allison is full of praise for the initiative to build a larger sheep milking industry.

High society for sheep milking

Plans to expand the sheep milk industry have advanced to the formation of a society to develop and promote the industry, confirmed at the close of a recent two day conference at Massey University. 

NZ sheep milking could storm the world

New Zealand could lead the world in sheep milk production, says Nuffield scholar Lucy Griffiths. She told the recent Ewe Milk Products and Sheep Dairying Conference at Massey University the industry is well set up to lead internationally.

Sheep milking untapped opportunity for farmers

Lincoln University farm management and agribusiness lecturer Guy Trafford is so convinced about the opportunities sheep milk presents he plans to manufacture his own ice cream from it.


Machinery & Products

Made in NZ... Hansen Products

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in this country, producing productive…

New models mark seventh decade

Celebrating its 70th year – and having already released the fifth generation A Series in January – Valtra has just…

Kubota's new autumn offerings

Kubota, which is gaining traction in the agricultural sector with an ever-broadening portfolio, has announced some additions for autumn.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Bad company

The Hound is among many in the agriculture sector, including many of our top scientists, who are somewhat cynical claims…


OPINION: This old mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter