Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Cows will sing a Lullaby thanks to UCC

Ger Burns of Ardrahan Cheese is not a man to mince his words.

"UCC's speciality food diploma is a brilliant course. Anybody doing anything to do with the food industry could benefit from it," he maintains.

Ger helps run Ardrahan Cheese and is no stranger to speciality food, but he decided to do the diploma to get help with a new, highly innovative product -- Lullaby milk, or night milk.

Ger claims that Lullaby milk helps people sleep, while also delivering an energy boost during the day.

This is because the cows are milked just before dawn, when the levels of melatonin are highest. Melatonin is the naturally occurring hormone that makes us sleepy in the evening. It is also a powerful antioxidant.

Professor Maija Valtonen, of Kupio University in Finland, first established that night milk is higher in melatonin.

"When we heard about the research eight years ago we thought of doing Lullaby, but there were two companies doing it in England, so we figured they'd probably start exporting here. Then they went bust," explains Ger.

Lullaby launched in 2005, but sales languished and Ardrahan had to decide whether to promote the product or let it end. Ger therefore opted to do the diploma to get help with promotion.

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"We need to bring it to the next level and the course made it clear that we needed to look at our packaging, to make clear what the product offered and to back it up," he says.

"The course was brilliant. But even better is the people you meet, the contacts you make and the support you get. I've lost track of the hours that Dr Joe Kelly helped me to perfect the packaging.

"The amount of help we got is frightening, we couldn't have paid for that kind of support. We seriously needed to up our game with Lullaby, but we didn't know where to start.

"The UCC course showed us where we needed to focus our energies, and the new packaging will be on store shelves soon," Ger predicted.

Irish Independent