Analytical Science news

Photo supplied by Dairy Goat Co-operative
16 August 2018

Bespoke testing key to Dairy Goat Co-operative's success

While Nelson Tasman’s Cawthron Institute is world-renowned for its expertise in aquaculture science, it may be surprising to some that its research capability extends beyond the sea and onto the land. Among other things, it also delivers research and analytical testing services to the dairy sector. In fact, the dairy sector is a significant part of Cawthron Analytical Services’ customer base.

For the past ten years, Cawthron Analytical Services’ Research and Development (R&D) team has been working closely with Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ) Ltd (DGC) to meet its specialised requirements, growing and developing its R&D offering to complement and support DGC’s changing needs.

Who are the Dairy Goat Co-operative?

DGC is one of New Zealand’s biggest developers and exporters of goat milk products. From its factory in Hamilton it manufactures a range of premium nutritional powders, including infant formula, which are marketed in Asia, Europe and Oceania.

One of DGC’s key needs includes developing a greater understanding of the nutritional outcomes of its products, through research and specialised analytical testing.

Dairy Goat Co-operative’s Science Project Manager Louise Tolenaars says the expertise in Cawthron’s R&D section is just what the company requires. “While the expertise is top-notch, it’s the institute’s responsiveness and ability to provide solutions that has really formed the basis of a good collaborative relationship,” says Tolenaars.

Flexibility and adaptability and focussing on client needs is something that the Cawthron R&D team prides itself on. “It is our goal to be an active partner in developing innovation with our clients,” says Cawthron R&D Team Leader, Dr Tom Wheeler.

What work has Cawthron done for DGC?

The Cawthron team has been developing methods to measure a range of both small molecule bioactives and macromolecules that are present in milk.

“We see differences in the levels of milk bioactives between different species of dairy animals,” says Tolenaars. “It is definitely useful for us to be able to measure these things. If you’re taking a compound and adding it to a food, that is usually easy to measure. But taking a food with a bioactive already naturally present, is often much harder to analyse. For us, that’s the toughest part.”

Tolenaars says the co-operative has gone to other places with this problem, but Cawthron is able to listen and recognise DGC’s needs. “Over the years, we have developed a collaborative approach that’s good for both of us. It’s a very good reason to stay with a provider.”

Cawthron’s surprising capabilities

“We were aware of Cawthron’s capabilities when it came to routine testing of food,” says Tolenaars. “We basically got in touch to see if some of their methods would be suitable for us. We found they did research and development in food models and are able to go beyond routine testing.” While Cawthron has always been known for their aquaculture and food analysis ability, she says, Tolenaars was surprised that they had the expertise and capabilities for developing novel analysis methods, particularly for dairy goat milk products.

“The best thing for us about the relationship is that they listen to our needs and they’re able to provide the solutions we need, using their expertise in analytical chemistry.”

“The capabilities and partnership approach we have developed with DGC have more potential to add value as we continue our work with them,” says Dr Wheeler. “We are looking forward to making an even bigger impact on DGC’s business in the years to come.”

“The specialised approach we have developed in working with DGC is also applicable to many of our other clients in the food and natural products space,” says Cawthron Analytical Services’ Business Development Manager Augusta Van Wijk. “Our aim is to become known not just as a seafood and marine ecosystems research institute but more generally as a food research innovator.”