The market for goats milk products continues to grow, spearheaded by fresh milk, which was up 16.5%% last year to £21.5m [Nielsen].
Growth has traditionally been fuelled by consumers who are intolerant to cows milk. However, according to goats milk producer St Helen's Farm, many are choosing goats milk because they "love the mild, clean, fresh taste" .
"Once into goats milk, consumers look for other products made with goats milk, such as butter, yoghurts, cheese and cream," say founders Angus and Kathleen Wielkopolski.
The duo moved to their present site at Seaton Ross in the Vale of York in the mid-90s and established their 4,000-strong herd, processing more than 10 million litres of goats milk annually. This is turned into fresh milk, butter, yogurt and cream, while cheese is made at their sister company, Cricketer Farm, in Somerset.
St Helen's Farm was the first farm to introduce semi-skimmed goats milk, more than 11 years ago. And last month, again in a first for the market, it launched a skimmed goats milk into retail.
"The fact that our semi-skimmed variant is available in Tesco is a clear sign that the market for goats milk has come of age," says Wielkopolski, who claims the market for goats milk has more than doubled in the past five years .
"We have had to plan carefully to meet consumer needs during this time. We pride ourselves on our innovation and are constantly looking to meet demand through new initiatives," Wielkopolski adds.
The company has been encouraging new farmers into the category and expanding its herd .
It recently announced a £5m investment in a large arable farm near Hull to expand milk production by installing a state-of-the-art feeding system and milking parlour. The new unit will be producing fresh goats milk in 12 months time.
St Helen's Farm goats milk butter is available from Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose.