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First everyday organic cheese launched

First everyday organic cheese launched Mainland leads the way

Mainland has launched New Zealand's first everyday organic cheddar cheese.

Sharon Angus Marketing Manager - Mainland said the new cheese was developed in response to market demand and is the first mainstream organic cheese to be made available in New Zealand.

"People are looking for organic alternatives and Mainland has responded to the demand with this cheese. Organic food is the fastest growing sector in the food industry," Ms Angus said.

"The introduction of an everyday organic cheddar opens a new category for organic food buyers, offering consumers a choice and versatility in the way they use cheese."

Meeting market demand with an everyday organic cheddar requires innovative production processes.

"This involves everything from selecting farm-fresh organic milk to controlling each aspect of production Ð ensuring a truly organic product," Ms Angus said.

The milk for the cheese is sourced from 26 organic dairy farms around the country. To be classed as "organic" the farms undergo a period of "cleansing" from synthetic chemicals and are managed using natural biological systems. Typically this takes about three years. The farm must then be certified in accordance with a standard accepted by the US and EU governments.

Mainland Organic Cheddar has to pass strict quality tests to be classed as organic and comply with Agriquality's organic standards of production and processing. Agriquality is accredited under the IFOAM Accreditation Programme, the worldwide movement for organic agriculture.

"And because it carries the trusted Mainland brandmark, it must also taste great. The cheese is a medium flavoured cheddar with the natural farm-fresh flavour of organic milk.

"It's for everyday eating and can be used in the same way as other cheddar and hard cheeses, opening a whole new range of options for people committed to organic food," Ms Angus said.

The organic sector in New Zealand is in the early stages of commercialisation, following the lead of the American and European markets. There, organic products are becoming a standard offering in retail stores.

In New Zealand organic sales have grown 50% a year for the past three years and of the country's 80,000 farmers, 700-800 are certified as organic, another 10% are partly organic and 37% want to convert within five to 10 years, according to University of Otago research.

Globally, growth in developing organic markets is estimated at 20-30% each year in the last decade.

Mainland Organic Cheddar will be available in supermarkets and selected organic outlets throughout the country by the end of November.

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