A small dairy co-operative on the NSW South Coast is reporting a 54 per cent jump in demand for local milk in just a month, after social media campaigns urged a boycott of cheaper supermarket milk.
The Berry Rural Co-operative started in 2005 after their local processing plant shut, but has just opened a new $3 million processing plant.
In the month since the plant came online, the co-operative is reporting a 54 per cent jump in demand and has increased its workforce from four to 11 permanent, and 14 casual staff.
General manager Kara Duncan said the social media campaign to boycott cheaper supermarket milk in favour of more expensive brands was responsible.
”I believe the massive increase has come from the promotion to buy local milk, buy branded milk,” she said.
”We have a lot of loyalty already … but it’s not just in the supermarkets, it’s also the corner shop.
”We couldn’t have that increase without our customers. That’s what it all comes back to, it’s the community itself.”
While she credited Waleed Aly from The Project on Channel 10 for highlighting the issue, she said a post on the co-op’s Facebook page had attracted just short of 23,000 views.
”It’s not just the big media, it’s really the little stuff as well that’s the driving force,” she said.
Since 2005, the co-op has processed its milk at a plant 100km north of Berry.
The operation is wholly owned by seven dairy farming families in the Shoalhaven area and continues a local dairy industry that dates back to the 1880s, when the town’s first butter factory was built.
At that time, the Berry Central Creamery was fed by 12 smaller creameries and was the largest, and most complete operation in Australia, with storage for 150 tons of butter.
The co-op’s products are sold along on the NSW South Coast, and given away for free to local schools and kindergartens.