An Anglesey sheep farmer is hoping to attract health-conscious customers with the launch of flavored Welsh sheep’s milk drinks.
Huw Jones is one of a growing number of Welsh farmers joining the booming dairy sheep industry, and he has just launched his business – Llaeth Medra Milk.
Huw said, “There is a growing global market for sheep’s milk, especially with people looking for different types of milk substitutes. I am particularly keen to target athletes and people concerned about their health.
“Sheep’s milk is rich in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as iron, zinc and essential amino acids. In addition, it has a high content of calcium, protein and energy; While the fat globules are smaller than in those in cow’s milk, it can make it easier to digest and suitable for people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk.
Huw, who breeds in Llanerchymedd, was inspired to get started in sheep milking following a Farming Connect exchange program in France in 2019 before getting involved last year in an Agrisgop group with other sheep milk producers.
He started by buying 50 Friesland x Lacaune ewes – breeds particularly suited to milk production – and has already more than doubled the herd.
A new milking parlor, imported from Greece, has just been installed and by next year Huw hopes to milk 200 ewes.
Huw also supplies milk to a local cheese maker Cosyn Cymru, but for his own business he chose to make flavored milk drinks that are produced at the Food Technology Center in Llangefni, which also helped him develop his products.
Huw was assisted in setting up his flavored milk business by Cywain – a Menter in Busnes project that supports the development of growth-oriented businesses in the food and drink sector in Wales.
“Cywain has been great, they have helped me with my branding and marketing as well as in areas such as cash flow, pricing and accessing new markets.”
Cywain Development Director Nerys Davies said: “Llaeth Medra Milk’s new line of flavored milks is an exciting product. Sheep’s milk is considered a super food by some people, and I’m sure the strawberry and chocolate flavors will appeal to those who want to try something new and also increase their nutritional intake.
Llaeth Medra Milk drinks are available in a growing number of outlets, including Blas ar Fwyd. He hopes the creamy texture of the milk will attract coffee shops as well, and plans to provide coffees with sheep’s milk.
Huw said, “We started with the chocolate flavor and just released the strawberry version. Eventually, I hope to move production to the farm, and I also work with other sheep milk producers, so that there is a year-round supply of milk.
Globally, the sheep’s milk market is worth £ 23 billion and is used to make a variety of high-value products from cheese to powdered infant milk.
In collaboration with Menter a Busnes’ Farming Connect project, the Welsh government is currently exploring the possibility of establishing a dairy sheep industry in Wales that is market-driven, resilient and focused on high-value products that can deliver benefits. opportunities to new markets after Brexit.
Huw said, “It’s an exciting time, sheep’s milk is a huge market, and I’d like to go and study the systems in New Zealand and Israel, where the sheep dairy industry is big.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural and North Wales Affairs, and Trefnydd, said: “We are continually exploring new ways to help Welsh farmers diversify into the market and add value to their products.
“Llaeth Medra Milk is a great example of innovation in a sector which, although still in its infancy in Wales, could potentially be a valuable and lasting addition to our food and agricultural industry and an exciting new product for consumers. . ”