$1-a-litre retailer seeks milk bottler

An Auckland-based specialty grocery retailer, which slashed the price of milk to $1 a litre last month, is now looking to bottle its own.

Last month, Nosh Food Market dropped the price of a two-litre container of Cow and Gate Milk by more than half, to $2.

The price was initially fixed in the company's six stores until the end of February but that has since been extended until the end of this month.

In a statement yesterday, Nosh founder and director Clinton Beuvink said it was time for Nosh to think about bottling its own milk and the company was actively looking for a business partner to do that for the chain.

"There are only a few processors of milk. It is an area where I would like to see more competition to ensure consumers are getting a fair deal.

"We sell millions of litres of milk a year and this year we'll sell a lot more. We are expanding stores in a tight geographical grid which makes our distribution costs very low. There's a guaranteed market right from the word go," Mr Beuvink said.

He believed an independent bottler would easily recoup the cost of setting up a factory in Auckland to supply Nosh and its "family of retail friends".

A $2 million pasteurisation plant in Auckland would enjoy low distribution costs to the biggest market in the country, he said.

Nosh itself was a good retailer and not a manufacturer which was why it would not set up a plant itself.

From Monday, more than 10,000 Northland school pupils will receive daily milk as part of Fonterra's Milk for Schools initiative.

The pilot programme was aimed at making milk more affordable and more available to all New Zealanders. Of 133 schools, 112 signed up for it.

Fonterra will be monitoring the pilot over the first three terms to establish how to best introduce the programme nationally and iron out practical details, such as getting the milk to schools, keeping it cool and recycling the packaging.


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