15/02/2005 - 21:00

Milk the way it used to be

15/02/2005 - 21:00

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Dairy farmers for the past 80 years and operators of the Great Southern Milk Company, the Ravenhill family is about to undertake a small but significant step in a new direction.

Milk the way it used to be

Dairy farmers for the past 80 years and operators of the Great Southern Milk Company, the Ravenhill family is about to undertake a small but significant step in a new direction.

This year the Narrikup-based dairy will begin a major retail push for its own branded range of dairy goods.

According to Rebecca Smith (engaged to Bevan Ravenhill) the Great Southern Milk Company invested in a small processing plant last year that will allow it to become a boutique diary manufacturer and retailer rather than simply a supplier.

“We’re still in the early stages,” says Ms Smith, who works for the family business.

“We built the factory from scratch, we started in about August last year.

“We just finished construction of the processing plant and have put some milk through to test it.”

The move toward retailing was sparked by declining margins in the milk supply business brought about by deregulation of the industry. And while the family will continue to supply milk to companies such as National Foods and Challenge Diary, it is keen to build up another revenue stream.

“We will continue to supply to them and our product will be a boutique offering,” Ms Smith says.

“We wanted to value add. We have found it hard since deregulation of the diary industry. It’s cut margins but we have been able to keep going, but we believe that we have got quality milk that we can make and sell ourselves.

“We’ve done a lot of research and checked out the east coast and how they do it over there. They produce and manufacture their own milk but they don’t promote it as boutique milk.”

The milk produced by the Great Southern Milk Company will be milk similar to that sold in glass bottles many, many years ago, before the current low-fat and milk carton trends.

“It will be the old-style milk where you get that layer of cream on the top when it settles,” Ms Smith says.

“We hope to have two white milk varieties. One is the pasteurised only milk, the one that has the cream, and the other is a pasteurised and homogenised milk that is like your hi-lo and has the fat taken out.

“We will also do cream, a normal whipping cream and a double cream, and we will do flavoured milk. We’re still researching the flavours but we want to make them natural flavours.

“Stage two of the plan is to make ice-cream and yoghurt.”

Ms Smith says the company is researching names for various products and hopes to release its first milk into the retail market by April.

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