Due to the uprising of veganism in the global community, a great number of producers are attempting to make animal-free dairy widely available for consumers. The first attempt at this is laboratory milk set up along with the nation’s largest dairy cooperative. The first animal-free dairy comes in the form of extracting value from a growing segment of the market that is not consuming dairy and the second is having influence over the way alternative dairy products are marketed.
However, there has also been some fierce opposition to what is being called an unholy alliance, with a former director saying he would be happy to share his learnings with sitting board members should they wish to switch to a new CEO. Norco, based in Lismore in northern NSW, has a 25 per cent carried free interest in a venture called Eden Brew looking to commercialise dairy alternatives, starting with a drink, from cutting-edge precision fermentation technology developed in conjunction with the CSIRO.
Subtropical dairy farmers, who own Norco, are optimistic about an additional revenue stream but adamant the products should never draw on familiar methods of marketing employed by plant-based and alternative protein makers that denigrate livestock industries. Dorrigo producer Adam Darley, Golden Valley Farm, said farmers should not allow themselves to be left behind, particularly as other dairy companies and processors were investing in alternatives.
Julie and Michael Moore, Meadow Vale at Dorrigo, believe there is plenty of room in the market for both traditional dairy and novel alternatives and farmers need to have a finger in all pies. However, the Norco brand owners believe that their brand is everything since they have been in the dairy industry for 126 years. They believe that Norco’s core business is in real milk. Any investment it makes should be in that, not supporting an industry effectively trying to displace them.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)