Spring Sheep Milk Co.

Over the coming weeks, The Chamber of Commerce is sitting down with each of the winners from the recent Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, supported by Foster Construction Group, to find out what they did to stand out from the crowd. This week's Winners’ Insight is with Thomas Macdonald, Chief Operating Officer at Spring Sheep Milk Co., winner of the 2021 Innovation award.

The Waikato is well known as a world-class dairy and agriculture hub with a proud history of innovation in the sector. Spring Sheep Milk Co. is the latest company revolutionising the dairy industry by milking sheep, not cows. Specialising in premium products made from grass-fed New Zealand sheep milk, the nutrition business is the largest sheep milking group in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Founded in 2015, Spring Sheep Milk Co. produces and distributes its own branded products for sale worldwide. COO Thomas Macdonald is exceptionally proud of his company’s work to bring global awareness to the unique benefits of sheep milk.

“We’re in the business of advanced nutrition, making delicious and nutritious products from our flock of grass-fed sheep. We preserve the natural qualities of our milk by taking exceptional care of it and tracking it every step of the way. We’re dedicated to looking after our animals, our people, and the land we farm as proud custodians. We believe your family deserves the very best,” said Thomas.

It’s been a busy year of success for Spring Sheep Milk Co.. On top of winning the Innovation category at the Waikato Business Awards, Spring Sheep Milk Co. also won the 2021 World Dairy Innovation Award for Best Infant Nutrition. According to Thomas, the Waikato Business Awards process has been an opportunity to reflect on their journey and receive invaluable feedback from the judges. 

“The award is a testament to the team’s dedication and passion for the industry. It’s fantastic to be recognised in this way by the Waikato business community, and we’re incredibly proud of our team – sheep included – who are all superstars in their own right and continuously bring their A-game every day to contribute to the success of Spring Sheep Milk Co.,” said Thomas.

The local and international success has Spring Sheep Milk Co. primed to continue expanding. Currently in a growth phase, it expects to have more than 40,000 milking sheep in the next few years. A partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries in 2016 offered other opportunities to grow, with the aim to establish a sustainable, scalable and globally competitive New Zealand sheep dairy industry that delivers significant social, economic and environmental benefits to New Zealand. 

“Right now we are interested in talking to farmers in the Waikato region who may be considering a change in land use towards an exciting new industry like dairy sheep. The next phase of growth for Spring Sheep will involve launching new products and partnerships into multiple new markets around the world,” said Thomas.
What is it that makes sheep milk so unique and beneficial? It is naturally an A2 type milk, free from A1 beta-casein protein found in most cow milk. It also contains 60% more protein than cow and goat milk and is a complete protein – meaning it contains all 10 essential amino acids. They are essential because the body cannot make them itself and must be consumed in one’s diet. The Spring Sheep Milk Co. milk comes from its very own breed of New Zealand milking sheep, the Zealandia®.

“Grass-fed New Zealand sheep milk is one of the highest quality milks available in the world, making it the ideal base for premium nutrition products. Combined with its delicious taste profile, it’s something consumers look forward to consuming and can feel good about. Our Gentle Sheep Premium Sheep Milk Toddler Milk Drink is a great-tasting drink,” said Thomas.

Spring Sheep Milk Co. also makes use of advanced data analytics to ensure it meets the demands of its core markets in China and Southeast Asia. A strong history of connecting with customers to develop key consumer insights has allowed the Waikato team to grow into a world leader in sheep milk. 

“Market insights have been a pillar of all new product development activities, and we have a strong interest in emerging scientific discoveries. In the past few years, with international travel limited, Spring Sheep’s team on the ground in the market has been critical to developing and feeding back the latest market insights,” said Thomas. 
Proud of its Waikato roots, Spring Sheep Milk Co. has established multiple partnerships with Waikato businesses that form a key part of its growing supply chain. Recently moving into Waikato Innovation Park has opened up multiple opportunities for networking and collaboration. 

“We love living and working in the Waikato. The people here are incredibly talented and it gives us an opportunity to further promote the already excellent reputation of our region in the dairy industry. It’s really a no-brainer for us,” said Thomas 
Farmers who may be considering land-use change or would like to find out more about the opportunities in the dairy sheep sector can head to www.springsheepmilkco.com or email suppliers@springsheep.co.nz


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