Field Notes, powered by KPMG, is a weekly news update on news nationally and globally from the agri-food sector.
Despite the attention on synthetic dairy products, the New Zealand dairy industry remains confident the traditional source of milk will remain a preference for the world’s consumers. Evidence synthetic dairy’s claimed lower environmental footprint exists remains scarce, according to Dairy Companies Association Executive Director Kimberly Crewther. The main source so far appears to rest on a 2015 report commissioned by the Perfect Day synthetic milk company. Mrs Crewther reports that when correct levels of protein in milk are taken into account the Perfect Day greenhouse gas claim seems to suggest they could produce a product with roughly 1% of the protein of naturally occurring milk for 35-65% of the gas emissions. The sugar required to act as a feedstock for the synthetic milk’s yeast source has a high environmental footprint. The production of lysine requires more than five tonnes of corn or maize to produce corn syrup, for one tonne of final product. Mrs Crewther also stated that the association is also concerned about the labelling of such products and does not believe they should be labelled as milk or dairy as they do not meet the definitions set out in the Codex. On the other hand DairyNZ states that there is room for dairy, plant-based and synthetic alternatives to feed the world’s burgeoning population and there will always be a premium market both here and internationally for natural, nutrient-dense NZ dairy products. Last year Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri told the Platinum Primary Producers conference in Taupo the Government fully expects synthetic milk to be available within two years, closely followed by red meat alternatives.
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