Maleny Dairies supply their premium quality milk to many businesses across the hinterland, along with cream, custard and delicious yogurt. They also offer Farm and Factory Tours, where the public can visit and see the process of dairy production, plus bottle-feed calves, meet the cows, and enjoy snacks, drinks and Maleny Dairies produce at the Milk Bar.
In 2021, Maleny Dairies welcomed their new CEO, Stephen Tait. Originally from Scotland, Stephen came to Australia when working for News Corp, and later became head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland for ten years.
Stephen is firmly focused on the future of this much-loved business and his enthusiasm is infectious. “I’ve noticed there is a real emotional attachment to the Maleny Dairies brand, locally,” Stephen shares, “but the question has been how to attract businesses further afield.
“People want a commitment from us on how we reduce emissions, our animal husbandry practices, and how socially responsible we are; so we are focussing more on building sustainable practices, looking at how we work with the environment.”
“We need to be transparent about how we reduce water use, and waste, the fertilisers we use, the grass we grow, every part of the business is being examined.”
Stephen believes a behavioural change is occurring. “We are the first carbon positive dairy in Australia, and we are reviewing every part of the business; looking at companies with similar values who we can learn from.
“We will continue to produce incredible products of the highest quality, but we want to be custodians of the environment we’re in; invest in the future.”
Product development is also critical, with the company continually responding to consumers’ needs.
“I put forward a question on our social media pages asking if people were interested in lactose-free milk and had a huge response!” shares Stephen.
“It was actually my wife who inspired the idea, asking me at the breakfast table whether Maleny Dairies made lactose-free milk, as she is lactose-intolerant. I came in and mentioned it to the team, and we will soon have a sample ready for testing!
“I am so impressed with the talent and the quality control here – the ability to say ‘yes’ and have a new product ready for testing so soon, seeing tangible results.”
Stephen says he looks forward to coming to work every day, “I walk into a coffee shop in Maleny with this [Maleny Dairies] shirt on and people smile at me! You can’t buy that.”
Stephen is excited for the future, building on the business. “We have the capacity to do so much – it all depends on what our consumers want, and I look forward to them telling us.”