New Zealand sheep milk producer, Spring Sheep Milk Co. has launched a premium sheep milk formula for toddlers in Malaysia - the first of its kind in this market.
Gentle Sheep Premium Toddler Formula is the company's first product in its Early Life Nutrition (ELN) range for infants and young children.
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The formula is for children aged 1-3 years and is produced from grass-fed sheep milk sourced directly from the company's Central North Island farms.
Spring Sheep's marketing and innovation director Andrea Wilkins said the product takes the very best quality milk and blends it with premium ingredients to deliver a formulation ideal for kids whose diet may need some supplementation.
"We always knew that grass-fed sheep milk was incredibly nutritious and digestible. But the more we looked into the science and learned about the features and benefits of sheep milk, we could see how well suited it was to the early life nutrition needs of infants and young children," she said.
She said sheep's milk was a concentrated source of nutrients.
"In its natural state, its higher in almost every vitamin and mineral than cow's and goat's milk. It has around twice the protein of cow's milk and is full of quality fats, which are essential for growth and development," said Wilkins.
The sheep producing the milk are a specialised and unique elite dairy line, based on imported European genetics, and bred by Spring Sheep specifically for use in nutrition products.
Spring Sheep chief executive Scottie Chapman said the move into Malaysia was the culmination of four years' dedication and hard work by his team.
"It is an exciting milestone to get this range launched in Malaysia and to be the first company to offer a sheep milk toddler formula in this market," he said.
"It represents years of developing our farms, getting our genetic programmes up and running, lots of consumer research and testing, and listening to customers in our markets," said Chapman.
Extensive research and product testing by the company had demonstrated strong demand for premium Early Life Nutrition products that are naturally more gentle on the stomach and easier to absorb.
"Sheep milk is a wonderful fit for that need - we think of it as nature's super milk."
Chapman said Malaysia was an ideal launch market for the product as the country's consumers have a good understanding of the benefits of sheep milk and our research showed demand there was strong for quality specialty dairy products.
Spring Sheep plans to roll out its Gentle Sheep Premium Toddler Formula to Australia and New Zealand and other key export markets in the near future.
Spring Sheep launched its first product, whole sheep milk powder, in New Zealand and Taiwan in 2016.
This was followed by the introduction of probiotic sheep milk powder and calcium chews in 2017 to Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia.