30 Apr 2015

Sleepy cows sorting insomniacs

2:18 pm on 30 April 2015

Synlait Milk is using sleepy cows to help insomniacs get a better night's rest.

The South Island dairy company said it has developed a dairy-based milk powder ingredient that is clinically proven to enhance sleep.

iNdream is made from milk collected from ordinary dairy cows during the hours of darkness, when they naturally produce increased concentrations of melatonin in their milk.

Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone which plays a key role in helping humans to regulate their day/night cycle.

Synlait research and development manager Dr Simon Causer said the high-value product had global appeal and was doing well in the Korean test market, under the brand name of Sleepiz.

He said the product was launched by a Korean pharmacy chain in January and would soon be available in supermarkets there.

"It's still early days for us but sleep deprivation is a global problem and we will be looking to develop opportunities with our other business-to-business customers to roll out that product into other markets."

Dr Causer said the product was part of the Synlait's high-value nutraceutical product range, which attracted high profit margins and would provide a good incentive for farmers who had to stay up late to gather the premium milk product.

Synlait has been developing the product since 2009, with funding support from DairyNZ.

The clinical trial was conducted by Otago University and jointly funded by Synlait, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Ingredia SA.

Dr Causer said the company had high expectations for iNdream's potential but was not sure how long it would take to recover the cost of investment in research and development.