New Zealand is a country close to my heart; I lived there for five years, my wife's a Kiwi and we often make a point of hunting out great NZ brands like Merino Kids for our daughter or Oyster Bay wine for ourselves. So during a recent shopping trip it was a lovely surprise to find The Dairy Collective, a gourmet yoghurt company from New Zealand, on the shelf of my local supermarket.
Founded in New Zealand by chefs Ofer Shenhav and Angus Allan, the Dairy Collective deserve their gourmet credentials. The brand became the best selling gourmet yoghurt in New Zealand in a matter of months. They launched in the UK in May this year and have made a great start, winning deals with Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Ocado and Nisa.
I like it that the Collective are still using their tried and tested Kiwi recipes, but manufacturing these gourmet pots in Britain for the UK market. I love to see natural and locally sourced produce doing well, and I'm glad the Collective have taken this approach rather than trying to import finished goods from New Zealand.
Earlier this summer, to help get the word out, the Dairy Collective team travelled around charity events and city squares in their On The Moove van. This sort of creative hands-on marketing is a great idea for a start-up company without the luxury of the advertising budgets permitted to massive brands.
Of course, it helps that they taste great. Thick and creamy, this gourmet probiotic yoghurt is naturally good for you, 95% fat free, and is sweetened with honey instead of sugar. They are perfect for those who want to watch their weight and want to avoid the artificial sweeteners so popular in normal low-fat yogurts. They're also gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and contain no preservatives or additives. My personal favourite is the thoroughly delicious Passionfruit flavour.
Finally, hats off to great design. If your aim is to disrupt an established category, it makes sense to stand out from the crowd. This sounds obvious but so many new brands get this wrong. I think the Dairy Collective's visual identity is great. I love their logo, which is relevant, memorable and differentiated from mainstream brands like Danone and natural brands like Rachel's. What's more, the serving size and pack shapes are different to everyone else's, which also strikes me as a smart move. Could they become the GÜ of the dairy aisle? I wouldn't bet against them.
For news on where you can meet the team for their next sampling event, check out The Dairy Collective's twitter @collectivedairy