Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman
Dairy prices are on the rise. Farmers are happy, but consumers are grumpy as their dollar buys less at the checkout. There is a simple reason why dairy prices are on the rise – retailers have to pay more for the product when buying it from Fonterra (who handles 92 percent of the country’s raw milk supply).
There are a couple of reasons why Fonterra is charging retailers more. Their costs have gone up (like extra holiday pay, paying for the emissions trading scheme which came into play on 1 July last year, higher fuel costs, higher power prices, and so on). They also are paying farmers more for the milk because the price they pay their suppliers is based on international prices. Those prices have been on the rise lately, although they are still below their peak on January 2007.
Fortunately oily raggers have lots of ideas about how you can cut down on your milk costs, but before giving you their tips here are a few things you should know about buying milk.
- There is a significant difference in the retail price for the same milk, depending on where you buy it.
- The “premium” price brands are Anchor and Meadow Fresh. At the mid-price range are supermarket house brands, and at the lowest price point are the discount brands of Dairy Dale and Dairy Fresh (which happens to be the same milk that goes into the premium brands).
- The cheapest place to buy milk is at speciality food outlets (eg ethnic food outlets and butchers) and fruit and vegetable retailers. Many of these outlets offer extra special deals. Dairies and petrol stations are, in general, the most expensive places to buy milk.
Lots of readers recommend using milk power.
- I have been using milk powder now for everything for the past 15 years and I found that you have to make the milk at least half an hour before you use it so it gets cold. How I introduced it to my family was that I started out with normal milk in a 2 litre container and just gradually introduced the milk powder to the normal milk and over a period of time it was just milk powder made into milk. If I can remember right I think it took about a month. We found that the best powder is low fat. It costs less than half the cost of fresh milk. That is a healthy saving. – Kate, Tauranga.
- For about 30 years, we've been mixing up our own milk from milk powder. I buy a 1kg packet which mixes up to around 10 litres of milk. We have 2 x 2litre lidded jugs, and as we empty one, it is thoroughly washed and new milk made. We never run out and we save money too. – S.D.
- I was given this tip many years ago. I always buy 1 kg packets of skim milk powder, any brand, whichever is the cheapest at the time, which makes up to 10 litres of milk and unless someone sees you make it they do not know the difference. The beauty of milk powder is that you can store it for a long time and do not have to run to the dairy every day. NB I am talking about SKIM milk powder. Try it and you may be pleasantly surprised. –Reader, Katikati
If you have a favourite milk tip share it with others by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei. The book Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.
* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.