It’s no secret that China guzzles more milk per year than any other nation on Earth. After all, the world’s most-populous country is a major market for New Zealand dairy companies like Fonterra, and that seems likely to continue so long as China’s population and economy continues to grow.
Top Smith Ltd (TSL) has the intellectual property rights for the cap, and has secured patents in Aotearoa, the United States and China. The cap itself is made by Zoom Tech.
The man behind the cap is Hunter McGregor, a Chinese-speaking New Zealander who has been based in China for 10 years. Helping with the import of New Zealand dairy products into China for five years, McGregor noticed an increasing demand for imported water and dairy products (including infant formula) into China, both in fresh and powdered form. However, the short shelf life of fresh milk products and lack of refrigeration in most Chinese homes mean there was a need to design packaging that could help fresh products keep longer without spoiling.
“While there were a number of systems being developed that used foil and involved the cutting of this to mix the powder and water, the cutting of the foil was quickly identified as a major issue for Chinese consumers due to contamination risks,” he says.
In 2014, working with Dunedin-based inventor/engineer Richard Cathro from Zoom Tech, McGregor and TSL began developing a cap that could store and deliver a powder (or liquid) into water (or any other liquid). While the cap is of great interest to Chinese companies, it also has the potential to be used for things other than dairy products. “There are significant opportunities for the cap to be utilised within the military, overseas aid, aged care, pharmaceutical, health and sport drink, and medicine delivery industries,” McGregor says.