Spring Sheep Milk Co. wins Company-X Innovation Award


… and the Company-X Innovation Awards goes to… the Spring Sheep Milk Co.

The smart Kiwi business began in 2015 and now sources sheep milk from 12,700 grass-fed Zealandia sheep, its own breed, from dedicated farms across the Central North Island. The milk is spray-dried into powder at Waikato Innovation Park at Ruakura in Hamilton and is used to create high-value nutrition products. Its early life nutrition range, including Gentle Sheep Toddler Milk Drink and nutrition powders are sold in China, Malaysia and New Zealand. 

Sheep milk is one of the most nutritious milks available and may be helpful for people with stomach or digestion intolerances. Grass-fed New Zealand sheep milk is one of the highest quality milks available in the world and is clinically proven to be more easily digested and absorbed than cow’s milk, making it the ideal base for premium nutrition products.

The company is jointly owned by Pāmu, the New Zealand Government, and sales and market development company SLC, with Ministry for Primary Industries support through the Primary Growth Partnership. It is at the forefront of agricultural science, working with geneticists, food technologists and environmental scientists to improve production. The number of milking sheep is expected to quadruple in the next four years and the company is also eyeing new markets. 

The Spring Sheep Milk Co. won the Company-X sponsored Innovation category of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Award for its Gentle Sheep Toddler Milk Drink. The product previously won the best infant nutrition product at the World Dairy Innovation Awards in 2021.

The Company-X Innovation Award recognises organisations that have enhanced their success through innovation – both in thinking and implementing of an idea. An innovation can be in a product, service, technology or process.

“Spring Sheep Milk Co. has demonstrated a relentless pursuit of excellence in innovation at all ends of the supply chain,” said the Company-X Innovation Award judges.

“From the detailed research into the benefits of sheep milks vs other milk products, to understanding the trends and dynamics of end markets, to ensure Spring Sheep’s products excel in a highly competitive marketplace. Spring Sheep delivers on all fronts in growing not only its own business but the overall sheep milk category itself.”

Spring Sheep Milk Co. chief executive Nick Hammond accepted the award with chief operating officer Thomas Macdonald.

Hammond said the award was a testament to his team’s dedication and passion for the industry.

“It’s fantastic to be recognised in this way by the Waikato Business community,” Hammond said. 

“I’m incredibly proud of our team – sheep included – who are all superstars in their own right and continuously bring their A-game every day to contribute to the success of Spring Sheep Milk Co.”

Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes found the Spring Sheep Milk Co. story astonishing.

“I am impressed that the Spring Sheep Milk Co. has 12,700 sheep being milked across the Central North Island to feed an international market,” Hughes said.

“It’s truly innovative. They have had the courage and tenacity to take an idea with the wow factor and make it a reality.

“It’s exactly the sort of innovative, outside of the square, idea that we love fostering and seeing win the Company-X Innovation Award.”

Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett was also pleased Spring Sheep Milk Co. was picked as the winner of the Company-X Innovation Award.

“We love working with companies who refuse to be boxed in and who think differently,” he said. “Spring Sheep Milk Co. is obviously one of those companies and is producing a premium product for a world market right here in the Waikato.”

Company-X has supported the Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards by sponsoring the Innovation Award since 2016.


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