EVERY parent wants the best for their children, particularly in the first two years of a child’s life, when optimal nutrition is key in ensuring healthy growth and improving cognitive development.
Hence, once their child reaches one year old, parents may look to supplement their toddler’s regular diet with an added dietary component of a Stage 3 toddler milk drink that is specifically formulated to provide a nutritional boost for one- to three-year-olds.
Giving New Zealand’s Spring Sheep Milk Co a vote of confidence is its recent win for its Spring Sheep New Zealand Gentle Sheep Toddler Milk at the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2021, where it beat several global dairy heavyweights.
A joint venture between state-owned farmer Pāmu (formerly known as Landcorp) and food marketer SLC Ventures, Spring Sheep is a public-private partnership established in June 2015, melding Landcorp’s farming best practices and resources with SLC’s branding and market expertise.
The company is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sheep milking group with 16 farmer suppliers and 12,700 milking sheep, which includes its own Zealandia® breed, but it is not resting on its laurels. Among its targets are to expand to more than 40,000 sheep by 2025 and to introduce more specialty milks by 2030.
Nature’s super milk
For the award-winning Gentle Sheep, it delivers on Spring Sheep Milk’s core mission to bring the pure nutritious goodness of grass-fed New Zealand sheep milk to the world.
Not only is it a rich, creamy milk with twice the solids of cow milk – meaning it is richer in energy, protein, fat and many vitamins and minerals ⁽¹⁾ – sheep milk is higher in amino acids as it is superior to cow milk in supply of all 10 essential amino acids ⁽²⁾.
One of the gentlest and most nutritious milks in the world, sheep milk is naturally an A2-type milk, free of the A1 beta-casein protein found in most cow milk, which has been associated with digestive discomfort, such as abdominal cramps and bloating ⁽³⁾.
Liggins Institute and AgResearch Limited research fellow Dr Amber Milan said, “Sheep milk is not just compositionally different to cows' milk but has inherent properties which means we digest it differently.”
Gentle Sheep takes it a step further by tailoring its formula to supplement the nutritional needs of toddlers aged one- to three-years-old, during a period when they require additional calcium and vitamins to support healthy development.
As a Stage 3 toddler milk drink, Gentle Sheep is packed with 24 vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Moreover, it contains DHA and ARA.
On top of a high calcium formulation for strong bones and teeth, it incorporates the OGOS/FOS prebiotic fibre that is believed to support a healthy immune system from a young age and is also enhanced with the OPO sn-2 palmitate, which is known to boost the absorption of calcium and fat, as well as improves intestinal health and comfort.
With no artificial colours or flavours, the gluten-free Spring Sheep New Zealand Gentle Sheep Toddler Milk has significantly lower levels of the fatty acids that cause the grassy or muttony flavour in goat’s milk ⁽⁴⁾ ⁽⁵⁾ and has a pleasant, clean and slightly sweet taste that children are sure to love.
*Disclaimer: Breast milk is the best food for infants. The product is not suitable for infants below 12 months of age and is not the only food for children.
⁽¹⁾ Barłowska, J., Szwajkowska, M., Litwińczuk, Z., & Król, J. (2011). Nutritional value and technological suitability of milk from various animal species used for dairy production. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 10(6), 291-302.
⁽²⁾ Haenlein, G. F., & Wendorff, W. L. (2006). Sheep milk. Handbook of milk of non-bovine mammals, 137-194.
⁽³⁾ Jianqin, S., Leiming, X., Lu, X., Yelland, G. W., Ni, J., & Clarke, A. J. (2016). Effects of milk containing only A2 beta casein versus milk containing both A1 and A2 beta casein proteins on gastrointestinal physiology, symptoms of discomfort, and cognitive behavior of people with self-reported intolerance to traditional cows’ milk. Nutrition Journal, 15(1), 35.
⁽⁴⁾ Fei Teng, Mariza G. Reis, Marita Broadhurst, Kirill Lagutin, Linda Samuelsson, Ying Ma, David Stevens, and Li Day. 2020 Factors affecting levels of volatile 4-alkyl branched-chain fatty acids in sheep milk: A case study for sheep milk from 2 contrasting farming systems in New Zealand. J. Dairy Sci 103 No.3
⁽⁵⁾ Quantitative descriptive analysis of sheep milk performed by AgResearch New Zealand. As part of the MBIE Programme Boosting exports of the emerging NZ dairy sheep industry.