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Synlait Swappa Bottle supermarket pilot starts

5th October 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

Dairy company Synlait has launched a four-week supermarket pilot scheme for its first consumer foods product its own brand – Synlait Swappa Bottle.

The Swappa Bottle trail is taking place at two Christchurch New World supermarkets.

The 1.5 litre reusable, stainless steel bottle of homogenised milk has gone on sale at two South Island supermarkets, New World Fendalton and St Martins in Christchurch. 

Synlait planned to widen distribution over time should there be sufficient demand for the product, which cost $15.28 the first time you buy it – $9.99 for the bottle and $5.29 for the milk. Bottles would be stocked in the chiller section alongside other milk products.

For comparison, a 1.5 litre bottle of Puhoi Valley homogenised milk costs $5.85, while Lewis Road is priced at $5.90.

Customers take the empty bottle and lid back to the store and it is scanned at the checkout alongside a new full bottle for the discount to be applied to follow-on purchases.

Synlait said was keen to hear consumer feedback before it widened its distribution networks, and had an eye on national sales in the future.

We are taking a softly, softly approach to launch because this is a disruptive product in a new sector to Synlait,” the company said.

“Once we are confident, we have perfected the new processes needed for the Synlait Swappa Bottles to be returned, washed, and refilled, we will widen distribution.”

The company has introduced a new sterilising process at its Dunsandel facility to clean the bottles, which would then be filled on an existing liquid milk production line installed before the $125m factory south of Christchurch opened in 2019.

It already undertook delivery to the pilot supermarkets – and others – as part of its 2019 liquid milk agreement to supply Foodstuffs South Island with fresh milk and cream under its Pams and Value labels.

Synlait has signalled its intention to move closer to the consumer for some time as part of diversification away from its main business of supplying milk powder to cornerstone shareholder and customer A2 Milk Company, which has seen its financial performance falter in recent years.

A statement from the group said its acquisition of cheese company Dairyworks in 2019 “was the start of this and adding a Synlait-branded product strengthens and complements its current business portfolio and expertise”.

It also called the Swappa Bottle launch a step in the journey towards eliminating plastic waste.

“There’s an opportunity for reusables to play a much bigger role in New Zealanders’ food and beverage future, as they are already in Europe and the USA,” Synlait director sustainability & brand Hamish Reid said.

“In launching Synlait Swappa Bottle – a refillable, stainless-steel bottle that can be reused time and time again – we’re hoping to trigger change.”

The Synlait Swappa Bottle carries the B-Corp stamp representing Synlait’s 2020 certification.



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