Security guards monitor chocolate milk
JOHN ANTHONY AND EMMA WHITTAKER
Security guards have been employed to monitor supermarket fridges containing Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk as customer demand continues to froth over.
Since the chocolate milk went on sale three weeks ago, demand has been so great that customers are queuing up for fresh deliveries, purchase limits have been put in place at supermarkets, and security guards are being employed to watch over fridges containing the chocolate gold.
Auckland's New World Victoria Park owner, Jason Witehira, said the chocolate milk stock had run out every day since it was launched.
Hoardes of devotees queued down the supermarket aisle every day in hope of getting their hands on it, and the weekends were particularly busy, he said.
The supermarket received nearly 500 bottles of chocolate milk each morning, which sold out within 90 minutes, Witehira said.
"The interest in it has surprised me immensely. We've had some pretty good product launches in the past but this pretty much takes the cake."
Today was the first day it had put a limit on the number of bottles to two per customer, after one customer took nearly all the bottles on display yesterday, he said.
"That's his right to do that, but we have to be fair to everybody."
Former Highlanders and Samoan international rugby player Filipo Levi said he came across a milk minder at Pak'n Save Glen Innes about 8.30am today.
"I saw the guy standing there and I asked what he was doing. He said he was there so people just take one each," Levi said.
Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane said he was also aware of security guards monitoring fridges.
"It's not fabulous to have a situation where you have to have security guards in place," Cullinane said.
Pak'n Save denied it had appointed "milk minders" to enforce purchase restrictions on Lewis Road Creamery chocolate milk in its stores.
A black market has also emerged on Trade Me, with numerous auctions selling two 75ml bottles of the chocolate milk from $30.
Cullinane's advice to customers struggling to get their hands on the chocolate milk was to check the Lewis Road Creamery Facebook page for updates.
The company was exploring options to ramp up production without compromising quality, he said.
"I don't think it's anywhere near tapping out."
Lewis Road Creamery was producing 30,000 litres a week with partner Green Valley Dairies, he said.
That could increase to about 50,000 litres per week, but to go beyond that would require either a second production facility or waiting until Green Valley Dairies had completed building its new production facility, about May next year.
The company was not considering producing another milk flavour until it had its chocolate milk supply under control.
But when it does release another flavour, a natural fit would be a "really good coffee" flavour, he said.
Lewis Road Creamery staff were already making mochaccinos at home by pouring the chocolate milk over a shot of coffee, he said.
The company was rationing supply among retailers, he said.
The chocolate milk is not available in the South Island.