Deer farming innovation creates deer milk opportunities for Pāmu
Deer milk research uncovers health, nutrition and skincare benefits for farming sector
Pāmu (formerly known as Landcorp) leads innovation in farming to counter the fluctuations of traditional commodity-producing agriculture, and deliver a return to all New Zealanders.
"As an industry, agriculture needs to be changing and evolving what we produce in response to consumer demand. Pāmu deer milk is one of the ways that Pāmu is investing in innovation, with like-minded partners, to take the milk industry forward," says Steve Carden, CEO of Pāmu.
Pāmu Deer Milk is a world first ingredient, showcasing groundbreaking innovation in the New Zealand food industry and is one of the examples of Pāmu’s innovation leadership and industry partnerships. It champions a new way of farming by developing new milk systems and unique ways of processing the delicate deer milk.
The idea for Pāmu Deer Milk came from examining alternative land use for Pāmu farms and discussing how to add value to the dairy business. Existing research was reviewed, and new research commissioned to better understand the potential application of deer milk. Research uncovered that deer milk has completely unique properties for application in health and nutrition, skincare and luxury food.
Deer milk features provide unique new market for deer farmers
Deer milk is not only high in fat and protein, but it is a wild milk. This means the fat, proteins, minerals and other components are structured and bound together in a different way when compared to milk from domestic animals like cows and sheep.
Deer milk’s rich nutritional profile lends itself to foodservice, but components important for skincare, like proactive and healing properties, have been identified. This includes various vitamins which suggest deer milk could be used for personal care and nutraceutical applications.
Benchmarks of Pāmu's deer milk success
Partnering with industry experts
Pāmu worked with AgResearch, AGMARDT and Massey University to develop Pāmu Deer Milk as a food service ingredient. Research with consumers and experts tasting and ranking deer milk against sheep, goat and cows’ milk was critical and the results were very favourable. There were many positive flavour and texture attributes identified by all participants when blind tasting deer milk. Overall deer milk rated the most highly out of all the milks tested, so Pāmu decided to proceed to the next step and trial the product with a food service professional.
Geoff Scott, a renowned Auckland chef, was the first chef engaged to trial Pāmu Deer Milk for use in food service. His first reaction to deer milk was phenomenal and so Pāmu decided to pursue food service as one of the applications for deer milk.
“It’s not often in your career that you get to work with a brand new product that you’ve never experimented with before,” Geoff says.
News of the product trials spread amongst the chef community across New Zealand and Pāmu received a number of calls from chefs wanting to be included. Today, chefs say they are excited to work with a brand new ingredient, one which brings something truly innovative and unique to their menus.
“Feedback from our guests and front of house was one of bewilderment (in a brilliant way). Definitely, a world-class ingredient, should not be messed with and should be treated like gold," says Benjamin Bayly, of Baduzzi in Auckland.
Des Harris, of The Hunting Lodge, said recipe ideas started flowing immediately after tasting and he was considering adding a wild duck egg and deer milk crème brûlée to his menu. "The flavours are so rich and really appeal to chefs. It's important for us to source local New Zealand produce and knowing this type of food innovation is happening in New Zealand is exciting."
Next steps to growing market demand for a burgeoning deer milk sector
Pāmu Deer Milk launched to food service customers in New Zealand in June 2018. The launch into the Australian market is scheduled for September 2018 with a focus on Sydney and Melbourne, two powerhouses of fine dining. Discussions are also underway with high-end distributors in Australia and South East Asia.
There are some markets where access will be challenging, so Pāmu is working closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries to assess the potential for market access into the Gulf States and the USA.