Tasmania’s status as a dairy state was bumped up a level when Ringarooma farmer Geoff Cox started supplementing his cows’ feed with omega-3, producing enriched milk for a health-conscious market.
The omega-3 enriched milk Mr Cox produces has less saturated fat with the same taste, texture and flavour.
Now Mr Cox has received extra support for his milk-enriching business, Naturale, with a $481,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund.
The funding means Naturale can upgrade its facilities so production becomes more precise, clean and efficient.
A third-generation farmer, Mr Cox has been trialling his omega-3 enriched milk for the past decade and the funding means he can innovate further.
“It is allowing us to increase our output and produce a better quality product, as well as freeing up resources to focus on new and innovative products,” Mr Cox said.
“The Nurture Fund grant for the upgraded facilities represents a reassurance that we’re on the right track while encouraging other companies to recognise the potentials of the supplement,” he said.
Mr Cox’s feed supplement was developed with support from the CSIRO and much trial and error.
“Creating the product involves very accurate measurements of ingredients and we have to get it exact each time so we can get the right outcome from the milk.”
Naturale supplies its enriched milk to Westhaven Dairy at Invermay, which creates an award-winning omega-3 yoghurt with the product.
The enriched milk can be used to create any number of dairy products, with a growing market of consumers interested in the benefits of adding more omega-3 fatty acids to their diets.
“Considering the variety of dairy products Australians enjoy, technically it could be sold as fresh milk, cheeses and yoghurt, which already exists through our partnership with Westhaven Dairy,” Mr Cox said.
“We would love to supply our milk for infant formula so parents have access to a formula with naturally enriched omega-3, which plays an integral role in the development and function of the brain, particularly for infants.”
Coles managing director John Durkan said Mr Cox’s dedication to his product and and hard work to build its market was inspiring.
“We are proud to support Geoff, who has not only created a feed supplement that can be used by other farmers, but who has also produced innovative dairy products packed with omega-3 health benefits,” Mr Durkan said.