Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Happy helping kiwi kids

Delivering milk to 56 Northland schools is very rewarding, say Luke and Corrine McDonald, Fonterra Brands franchisees based in Whangarei.

Twice a week they have two of their four trucks on the roads around their large delivery area, delivering the 250ml UHT cartons and picking up the empties for recycling.

Northland was the provincial pilot for the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme, launched at Manaia View School, Whangarei, last March.

The busy franchisees have embraced the new business and are proud of the ways in which Fonterra is helping New Zealand society and of the many products they deliver.

Luke and Corrine and their 10 staff members were already delivering fresh and long-life milk to decile four and below schools in their area for the KickStart Breakfast programme, jointly supplied by Fonterra and Sanitarium.

That programme serves more than 40,000 breakfasts in more than half of the 1000 schools in that socio-economic range throughout the country.

“As parents of young children ourselves, we are proud to be helping look after Kiwi kids like this,” Corrine said.

The McDonalds’ delivery records show about 12,000 UHT packs a week are consumed by about 2500 primary age children in their region in the Milk for Schools programme.

The Far North Anchor franchise delivers to 59 schools and the lower Northland franchise at Warkworth has two participating schools, Wellsford and Kaiwaka.

For the McDonalds, the longest runs are to schools on the coastal fringes of their territory, at Pouto peninsula, Aranga and Whangaruru, when a round trip with deliveries takes eight hours.

Schools in urban areas get deliveries fortnightly and rural schools every three to four weeks.

“Milk for Schools is now a substantial and time-consuming part of our business,” Corrine said.

Programme director Craig Irwin, Fonterra Brands business manager for beverages, said one million packs had been distributed to Northland schools since the start of the pilot.

Every participating school has been regularly surveyed and the satisfaction rate is 88%.

Fonterra staff members also go to Northland regularly to talk to the schools and local health authorities, like Manaia Public Health chief executive Chris Farrelly, who is enthusiastic about the programme.

“We need to know what is working and what is not, and learning from the schools which are doing well,” Craig said.

One change as a result of the pilot programme is a reduction in the serving size down from 250ml, which might be too much for some children.

A team from Auckland University is monitoring a representative group to gauge milk consumption and perceptions.

Irwin said the NZ pilot programme was unique, in that a dairy company is running and paying for it, whereas other school milk programmes in Scandinavia tend to be publicly funded, or in third-world countries they are targeting the malnourished.

Fonterra continues to talk to potential nutrition partners, whether it be government or other companies.

“But we have never said that the future of the Milk for Schools programme depends on the participation of a third party,” Craig said.

Fonterra has announced that Milk for Schools will go nationwide progressively next year. When fully implemented it will provide 180ml UHT milk daily to 350,000 primary schoolchildren.

That would be at a cost of $10 million to $20m a year depending on uptake, which was only a small proportion of Fonterra’s annual marketing and promotions expenditure, chief executive Theo Spierings said.

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