Demand for choc-milk outstrips supply
A north Waikato milk producer has been churning out Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk as fast as it can make it, but scarce supply has resulted in customers waiting at supermarkets to snap up fresh deliveries.
Lewis Road Creamery's Angela Weeks said a small team was working around the clock to make as much chocolate milk as it could, going through 3000 kilograms of Whittaker's five roll refined creamy milk chocolate and 24,000 litres of milk a week.
Havelock North New World owner-operator Richard Lucas said the supermarket received 90 bottles this morning.
Lucas had heard Lewis Road Creamery producer, Mangatawhiri artisan dairy company Green Valley Dairies, was preparing to release another flavoured milk, but details were secret.
Because the supermarket was an early stockist of Lewis Road products it was given priority for fresh deliveries, he said.
"We've been lucky because we were the first in Hawke's Bay to stock their milk," Lucas said.
"We were fortunate enough to have priority in getting stock."
The chocolate milk was one of the fastest-selling new products he had seen for a long time.
"It has been a phenomenon," he said.
The store was selling 300-millilitre bottles for $3.59 and 750ml bottles for $6.29.
A statement posted on Lewis Road Creamery's Facebook page yesterday said the company was overwhelmed by the response to its chocolate milk.
"We had no idea demand would be so great," it said.
"However, we are not a big corporate with endless machinery and deep pockets."
Lewis Road Creamy was a small, independent New Zealand company that was just finding its feet, it said.
"Our equipment is running at full capacity and we are working around the clock to produce as much chocolate milk as we can."
It hoped to be able to source additional equipment to increase supply, but that would take time.
The Facebook statement, which received more than 4000 "likes" and nearly 450 comments, said the chocolate milk was here to stay.
A list of stores that received deliveries is posted on its website.
Pak 'n Save Pukekohe chilled-foods manager Leonie Kinghan said the store's first delivery on Saturday sold out within an hour.
After many customer requests, a sign went up to notify customers that the next delivery would be on Tuesday.
"Two people turned up at 9am to wait for it," Kinghan said.
"We waited until 9.50am to put it out because I'd told people it would be in at 10am and I didn't want to disappoint.
"Once we put it out on the shelf it was gone by 11am."
New World Waiuku chilled and frozen-foods manager Gordon Thornton said he was amazed by the popularity of the chocolate milk.
"In nine years working here I've never seen a product get this much hype and public awareness," he said.
"Halfway through last week we got a delivery and then ran out, so we got 15 more boxes delivered on Saturday and then ran out that day."
Thornton said customers were buying up to six bottles at a time.
One person who managed to get their hands on some had listed two bottles on Trade Me.
Bidding was at $1.50 a bottle this morning.