Cautious steps in goat milk expansion

Milk man: CapriLac Waikato farm manager Peter Chubb. The company says it does not see itself as being in competition with New Zealand Dairy Goat Co-operative.
Bruce Mercer/Fairfax NZ
Milk man: CapriLac Waikato farm manager Peter Chubb. The company says it does not see itself as being in competition with New Zealand Dairy Goat Co-operative.

CapriLac says its plan for growth is generating interest from goat farmers in the Waikato, reports Ali Tocker.

An Australasian goat milk company, CapriLac, is looking to expand "in a cautious way" in the Waikato.

Co-owner Rupert Soar said the family-owned company was advertising for goat farmers who were interested in selling their goat milk or leasing their operations to the company.

The company had received "quite a bit of interest", and was following up leads, Soar said.

Farmers did not need to buy shares to get involved, as the company was not a co-operative.

CapriLac is a niche supplier owned by two farming families - Soar and his wife Catherine Taylor in New Zealand, and Australian-based husband and wife team John Gommans and Penny Gandar.

The New Zealand farm is in Puketaha by Gordonton, north of Hamilton, and has about 2000 Saanen goats.

The Australian farm is in the dairying area of Gippsland, Victoria - about two hours southeast of Melbourne.

It has more than 5000 goats.

"We are looking to grow our business in the Waikato in a cautious way, not in a huge way," Soar said.

"We are not a massive company.

"We don't want the business to be boom and bust."

CapriLac did not see itself as being in competition with the Waikato-based New Zealand Dairy Goat Co-operative, Soar said.

"The co-operative has done a really great job and has strong export markets.

"They are a lot bigger than us.

"Our focus has tended to be more on local markets.

"We're looking to continue to organically grow that area.

"We have a couple of growing contracts in Australia and offshore and we're looking to grow those.

"We're conscious not to try to do too many things too fast," Soar said.

In Australia, the company sells CapriLac-branded goat milk, cheese, yoghurt and milk powder in local outlets such as supermarkets and has some overseas markets.

In New Zealand, the company sells fresh milk to cheesemakers, and makes its own cheese and milk powder to sell in Australasia and export markets.

CapriLac started life in New Zealand about eight years ago.

It set up in Australia the following year.

Waikato Times