Fonterra announces trial of milk for schools programme in 110 Northland schools with 14,000 children

Fonterra announces trial of milk for schools programme in 110 Northland schools with 14,000 children

By Bernard Hickey

Fonterra has announced a free 'Milk for Schools' trial covering 110 schools with 14,000 schools in Northland that will start in the first term of 2012.

Fonterra's new Chief Executive Theo Spierings said he wanted to make milk more available and affordable for New Zealanders.

Fonterra planned eventually to roll out the Milk for Schools programme across all primary schools in New Zealand through 2013.

"Milk is an important building block for good nutrition. We want Kiwi kids to grow up drinking milk because it is good for them," Spierings told a group of school children gathered in a cafe in Fonterra's head office building in Auckland.

" For some New Zealanders this initiative will bring back memories of the government programme which operated in New Zealand primary schools between 1937 and 1967," Spierings said.

Milk would be refrigerated, he said.

"We don't want kis having to drink warm milk in summer like the old days, so we will look at installing refrigerators in schools, and also explore options for recycling the milk packaging," Spierings said.

Results from the Northland trial would be monitored through the first three terms of 2012 before a nationwide programme through 2013.

Spierings said the programme was a "significant investment", but that it would not effect the payout to Fonterra's farmers. Children would be offered 250 ml cartons of fresh plain lite (1.5% fat) milk each day. Spierings said Fonterra had no plans to offer flavoured or sugared milk.

Spierings also said Fonterra was continuing to review the price of milk in New Zealand and would report back its review in the first quarter of 2012.

"Our motivation is to have more New Zealanders drinking more milk because it is important for basic nutrition. To achieve this we have to make it available and affordable," he said.

Spierings said international dairy prices had effectively doubled in the last 18 months, which had increased the cost of milk locally and reduced demand. Milk consumption had traditionally increased 1-2% annually in New Zealand, but the recent price increases had seen consumption fall at a similar rate in recent years.

"We are exploring a range of options to turn around the consumption decline by making milk more consistently affordable and will report back in the first quarter of next year," he said.

Fonterra would also trial milk sales 4 RD1 rural supply stores before looking to roll it out to the remaining 60 stores..

"Initially we will  be focusing on smaller towns that don't have supermarkets nearby. From here we can measure the demand and decide whether to roll this out further," he said.

Farmers pleased

Federated Farmers' Dairy Chairman Willy Leferink said farmers had been briefed on the plans and gave it a sympathetic hearing.

“The commitment to this trial isn’t the actions of a faceless corporate, but comes from the hearts of Fonterra’s 10,500 farmer-shareholders," Leferink said.

He called on the government to help pay for the programme.

"If Government thinks this is a good idea, as we do, then it needs to share the costs with Fonterra and any other dairy company which may join the scheme," he said.

“In the meantime, Federated Farmers will be making strong representations to Fonterra that its trial packaging must clearly state this milk comes from Kiwi dairy farmers."

(Updated with details, quotes, comments from Spierings on payout, comments from Federated Farmers)

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Will it come in flavours?

Good on Fonterra!

Yes, good on them!!!!

A wonderful announcement - very xmasy cheerful and heart-warming!!


Agree - big thumbs up to Fonterra!!


China has cut its milk powder imports by some %50 and we have had record spring production, exports are down, somewhere we must be stockpiling, so this move makes sense, local markets become important when export markets tank.

But is the local market really that important when it only takes 5% of current supply?

obviously is  :-)

Where are you seeing that Andrewj?



 Dairy price warning, as China's milk imports halve

National Australia Bank warned of a further drop in milk prices, and "considerable pressure" on dairy farmers' margins, as data showed a halving in milk powder imports by China. 

Andrew, I think you are right - things are not as good as we are being led to believe. In reference to Fonterra's Auction on the 6th of August:

However, anhydrous milk fat, as used in croissants, chocolates and ice cream, was a strong riser too, increasing at a rate of 12.0% from the last auction, to an average price of $4,013 a tonne.

Competitive tension

The increase in anhydrous milk fat prices followed globalDairyTrade's decision to cut by 20% the volume of offered at the auction, after values at the auction fell to a sharp discount to prices elsewhere.

And from the same auction Fonterra had, from memory, a 2.6% increase in Contract 2 SMP prices while Dairy America had a 2.5% drop for the same. Something that can probably best be explained by Fonterra cutting volume. We can suspect that but not confirm it because the available volumes are now kept secret for 3 months. So much for the concept of the auctions being a mechanism for price discovery.

The export stats for milk powder show recent volumes down on the same period last year rather than increasing as you would expect with greater NZ milk production.  

At this point Treasury's PREFU's projected 8% increase in dairy export value for 2012 is looking a little optimistic. 

Good stuff!

Inform the teachers to stow the stuff out of the sun !

...... From my experience ( 1960's  ) , in just 4 hours of absorbing solar radiation  , milk takes on a soupy-yoghurty texture and flavour .

The saw-dust delivery man was a frequent visitor to our school ....... brrrrrraaaaaap !

The whole thing is a publicity stunt and opens the doors wide again for price rises. Get real people! Everyone should be asking "why the f..k can people not afford milk without the corporate BS charity offer? "

What a load of s..t My god

Because cigarettes are too expensive, they don't really care whether their kids have milk, and would prefer the state and big business to look after their family.

Gotta have the fags tristy...stuff the kids....drugs come first....then the pokies or is the booze....who said the kids matter anyway...gumnut take care of them....send em down to winz I say...sign em up early like...let someone else pay....hey what that Shearer fella promising us ...

I’m not sure if the Nationals under Key last even for another three years. Looking into their policies it seems to me they are operating in desperation, hopelessly straight into more deficits.

 After more then 6 years of mismanaging our economy, I have great hope with Shearer, the Labour party and it’s Green - & Mana party coalition partners - a good mix in today's changing world.


An introduction of D. Shearer:


Your generalzing. My hunch would be many put paying too much on a mortgage AHEAD of feeding their kids properly 

The poor have mortgages? 

Yeap, many do and they claim WFF's also. You don't really believe everyone rents out of necessity do you? 

I hear on the news tonight the taxpayer is going to bankroll the scheme,how convienient.

Hmmm , maybe Fonterrible has finally run out of that Sanlu milk to give away ...... back onto the good stuff ?

Aj, I haven't been able to find anything in the media that confirms that and didn't hear the news item you are referring to.  Do you have a link?  I am aware that Fonterra have said to the govt (and others) that if they want to contribute to the scheme they can, but if they don't Fonterra will continue with it anyway.  I haven't been able to find anywhere that says the govt has agreed to do so.

Let's all sing .....a hearty tune, to the incredible good will of Fonterra in allowing some of our low decile raggety ass Oliver Twist's  to sup from the golden chalice of the Omega Moo.

Crikey dicks it must be Christmas..! I wonder which particular ghost has visited the Board...?

Surely not the Ghost of Chrismas Futures  eh.....!

"dairy is healthy" LOL

Yes, just look at the state of our rivers and lakes for example! Not to mention pesticide residue in milk!

Only a dutchman could talk through his a$$ like this. 

Fonterra's main export= milk powder NOT fresh milk This is ONE reason why international milk powder prices should have no bearing on our locally produced no international freight charged fresh products.

Are NZder's really this niave? It would seem so. Just look at house prices.   


Children would be offered 250 ml cartons of fresh plain lite (1.5% fat) milk each day. Spierings said Fonterra had no plans to offer flavoured or sugared milk.

And the main ingredient of that fresh plain lite milk is what? Lactose. Lactose and sucrose are both simple sugars but lactose tastes much less sweet.

So, that fresh plain lite milk will be about 12% sugar (confirm that number in the supermarket - Std milk is about 9.5% lactose, skim milk around 13.8%).  

That fresh plain lite milk is 5% sugar, 3.5% protein and 1.5% fat.

From DairyNZ stats for last season, NZ processed 17,339 million litres of milk with 859 million Kg of fat and 654 million Kg of protein (1,513 million Kg of milk solids). Therefore our average milk composition for the season must have been 4.95% fat and 3.78% protein, and requiring 11.46 litres of milk for each Kg of milk solids. DairyNZ does not provide data for carbohydrates but lactose is normally 4.7 - 4.9%.

The numbers I gave in the comment above came from the 'per serve (200ml)' rather than per '100ml' columns so were doubled. Note to self: Put glasses on before reading nutritional information from items in fridge.

Fonterra will give with one hand and take with the other.

Mug Watch:

Watch as cheese goes up, butter & yogurt goes up, cream goes up, UHT goes up, sour cream & cream cheese goes up............

I suppose those critical of Fonterra on this thread won't be investing in it when it is further demutalised as a supplier owned co-operative (Trading Amoung Farmers) to make way for corporate driven investment, so as to satisfy a short sighted government and desperate NZX backed investment community.

Like it or not Fonterra is government subsidized, simply because they can't afford to pay the full ETS costs, can't afford market water/irrigation rates,  and can't afford to clean up their own s**t. Instead we all pay for that! 

In Environment Southland's area there are

24 sewage schemes, of which 28% were compliant in 2010/11

24 sewage schemes , of which 37% were compliant in 2009/10

These compliance rates make dairy look good! :-)

i'll invest not a cent with them! And i don't care how much profit they could have made me . i saw first hand the disaster of sanlu and fonterra on so many grieving families in China and how the company managed to squirm out of any real compensation. I see how they fleece Kiwis with their over-priced product, and Kate and Wolly FYI most of those ripped off families don't put smokes ahead of their kids! And though i'm not a greenie i see the damage and pollution their non tax paying milk providers cause to our water ways and rivers. So yes be afraid be very afraid, this is spin doctoring at the high end... Something big is on the way!


Ps i don't do dairy, because this is probably one of only a few times i can actually put my money where my mouth is...

There were 22 companies of which SanLu was one, which were found to be selling contaminated milk.  However, SanLu was the only one prosecuted, and the only one with foreign investment. Coincidence???


After 50 years on this planet i have learn't one thing.


Taxpayers of new zealand. Prepare to get shafted again.

Come now Bernard, enough of the coporate propaganda. Fontera is a monstrous, price gouging monopoly that survives on goverment patronage. This "free" milk in schools (that taxpayers are going to subsidise) is a cynical ploy to keep public opinion and regulators off their case. What is needed is within NZ price control, quid pro quo the statutory monopoly Fontera enjoys, so NZ parents can afford to buy their own children's milk.


Ergophobia, I have been a bit busy lately, so please provide the link that tells of taxpayers subsidising the 'free' milk.  I see Aj has also alluded to that but didn't provide a link.

>> 24% of New Zealand families have only one parent.
>> Over 40% of Maori children live in one-parent families.
>> 17% of NZ European children live in one-parent families.
>> 26% of children in both the US and UK live in one-parent families.
>> 14% of children in Germany live in one-parent families.

The telling stat in that is the second line.  This is where the significant majority of children living in poverty can be found. Families can afford a minimum of $70 a month for Sky but can't afford the same for food - for the majority, it is about choices families make.

For me the interesting thing to note in the above article is that Fonterra will be selling milk in some of its RD1 stores.  The price it charges will be most useful to see and compare to supermarkets.

Fonterra is not surviving on government patronage. The statutary requirements resulted in a capital structure that destroyed the co-operative principles that have served rural communities and NZ well. The short sighted and delluded government and industry leaders want to expose the industry to a wider pool of investment, be it the undernourised NZ investment community, the bretheren church or whatever. I've read no case that this will drive innovation, improve sustainablity and contribute to the social good; I suspect the opposite.

welfare is easy to start 

hard to stop


Theo is smart. one average sized Canterbury dairy farm could supply milk to 45000 kids for 365 days per year. But kids only go to school for around 200 days,the syphoned off fat can be sold to the arabs,and the govt needs to contribute. Anyone got a calculator ?

Another 20 cents in the nose bag.

 This is a smokescreen for the demutualisation of fonterra .Attention now needs to focus on the future Heir to Sir Henrys throne. Who is John Wilson ???