New Zealand Dairy Foods has launched a mainstream organic milk brand, which it will sell at a recommended retail price NZ$2.20 (US$0.94) per litre.

Research undertaken by the company, which is to be demerged from its parent New Zealand Dairy Group ahead of the mega-merger with Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, indicates that some 67% of shoppers are interested in buying organic produce, although price and availability are impeding them. "Until now, organic products have only been available in a niche market, with demand fulfilled by relatively small, boutique-style manufacturers," commented Kevin Bowler, Dairy Foods' general manager of beverages.

The Woolworth's retail chain is selling it at NZ$2.25 per litre, compared with NZ$2.39 per litre for the Naturalea brand.

Dairy Foods is sourcing its organic milk from the largest certified organic dairy farm, Marphona Farms, southeast of Auckland. The farm is planning to double its herd size and erect a second milking shed to boost supplies to Dairy Foods, although it is likely that other farms will be called on to supply milk to Dairy Foods as the line grows.

At present, just 20 New Zealand farms are certified for organic milk production, but this is seen increasing fast.