In Wanganui Chronicle

Whanganui business Milk It, Baby set to go national, international with lactation assistance products

12 Sep, 2018 7:00pm
3 minutes to read

Whanganui company Milk It, Baby is selling products to "Mumma bears" around New Zealand and an international market may soon open up.

Victoria Handley and Ash Patel, who have owned Victoria's T 4 2 cafe for the past eight years, now also operate Milk It, Baby which makes products to assist breastfeeding.

Handley, who has a degree in consumer and applied science in food science and human nutrition, knew nothing about lactation cookies until a breastfeeding friend asked her to make some.

The cookies assist breast milk flow by using galactagogue ingredients which include oats, flax meal, brewers yeast, and fenugreek.  

 "I'd never heard of them so I found a recipe but it didn't really work for me and I started playing with them," Handley said.

"My friend told her friends and other people started asking for them so then we decided to start selling them.

"I've been developing and changing recipes and getting it to work but still have a nice flavour. My cookies don't have any flour or baking powder, they are 100 per cent oat-based.

Victoria Handley is developing products to help breastfeeding mums.
Victoria Handley is developing products to help breastfeeding mums.

"People often buy them as a gift for new mothers in hospital and then the mums come back to buy more. Ash delivers them around town for mums who can't get out to buy them.

"Lactation cookies have kind of become trendy. A lot of women are doing it in Australia so a lot of people are aware of it now. We send them all around the country."

Handley also makes a cookie pre-mix, protein powder using pea protein and low sugar muesli that is suitable for all the family.

"I think I'm the only one on the market with lactation ingredients in a protein powder," Handley said.

"It's pea protein so it's vegan and contains 80 per cent protein."

They took their Milk It, Baby products to the Auckland Home Show in Auckland in August and Handley say they received great feedback from distributors.

"We have three distributors lined up around the country and some overseas buyers were really interested.

"A guy in China wants me to develop more products for his line. If we go back to the Baby Show, I'll do a toddler cookie because we got a lot of queries about whether the lactation cookies were for toddlers."

The Baby Show success has forced Handley and Patel to pause to reassess their business. They currently sell their products in their cafe and online to individuals but are now working on wholesale prices and will look at New Zealand distribution before the overseas market.

The products are currently handcrafted so an increase in production presents a dilemma.

"Our kitchen [at Victoria's T 4 2] couldn't cope with it so we would need to look at opening a small factory," Handley said.

"The Taiwanese are happy to have a product that has come from a factory but the man in China really wants a handmade feel to it."

Milk It, Baby had a stall at the Preggy to Pepe Market at Westmere School on Sunday, September 9, and will be at the Parent and Child Expo in Palmerston North in October.

"We've had the shop for eight years. This is something a bit different and it's helping mums which are the main thing."