22 Sep 2015

New plant-based milk product under development

1:47 pm on 22 September 2015

The milk company, Miraka, is working with science and research organisations to create a new UHT milk product using plant-based protein.

Taupo-based Miraka is a predominately Māori-owned company that manufactures milk powder and UHT milk products for export to 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America.

It's been awarded government funding to work with AgResearch and Plant and Food to develop dairy-based UHT milk products which contain plant or vegetable materials.

Chief executive Richard Wyeth said the scope is broad at this stage, but he wouldn't be drawn on the ideas that are being thrown around.

"Currently all of our UHT products are derived from 100 percent from milk, so basically just using white milk.

"So the next in that process is to say, 'well our consumers want protein, how can we deliver that protein to them?' and so we're thinking outside the square of just dairy and looking at plant proteins as well.

"If you think of people going to the gym and they're looking for a protein boost and we want to create products that people can take on a daily basis, not just a product that they take like an ice-cream, that might be an indulgence product, something that's a functional food that they'll consume on a daily basis."

Mr Wyeth said the company was looking closely at Asian and North American markets.

Miraka, which has 100 farmer suppliers, has just confirmed its 2014/15 payout of $4.50 and its forecast for this season is $3.95.