Pāmu Deer Milk

Public Summary

Principal Investigator: Professor Marlena Kruger, Massey University
Industry partners: Pāmu and Fonterra Research and Development Centre
High-Value Nutrition funding: $244,000

Pāmu Deer Milk and its impact on nutritional status and physical function in older adults

Pāmu Deer Milk is a natural source of concentrated nutrition. The composition and sensory aspects of deer milk have been thoroughly researched and could offer improved nutritional status and vitality due to its unique composition; it has significantly higher protein content compared to cow’s milk with a different protein/fat ratio. Deer milk naturally contains vitamins and minerals that can support skeletal and immune health, with additional minor components possessing anti-inflammatory effects. Muscle mass declines after age 50 and older adults become prone to arthritis, showing potential for older adults to gain considerable benefit from the increased protein and anti-inflammatory properties of deer milk.

The High-Value Nutrition Ko Ngā Kai Whai Painga National Science Challenge is funding a randomised, placebo-controlled trial (RCT) recruiting 120 elderly individuals. Participants will consume either 200ml deer milk or a commercial oral nutrition supplement daily for 10 weeks. This project, led by Professor Marlena Kruger of Massey University, will provide scientific evidence for the potential of deer milk in supporting a healthy lifestyle and improving general nutrition in a community-dwelling older population over the age of 60.

Pāmu sees a clear market opportunity in the healthy ageing space, providing a natural and great tasting nutritional solution. The research findings from this project will add to the existing dossier of scientific evidence for deer milk, and will be fundamental to the commercialisation of a finished product that will reduce exposure to commodity price cycles by underpinning a new industry while adding significant value to New Zealand exports.

Research Team

Professor Marlena Kruger

Marlena Kruger is an established researcher with a strong background in bone health research. She is widely published in this area. 

Marlena has a strong track record in research on food for health and well-being with a focus on the maintenance of mobility with ageing. Her research includes both in-vitro and in-vivo assessments allowing her investigations to progress from cell-based screening to testing in preclinical models followed by human intervention studies.

Professor Pamela von Hurst

Pamela is a human nutritionist with a growing portfolio of research experience including clinical trials and population studies.

Pamela’s interests include vitamin D in health and disease, child health and nutrition, bone, metabolic syndrome and physical activity. She is also Co-director of Massey’s Vitamin D Research Centre.

Hamish Glendinning

Hamish leads Pāmu’s deer milk business at  Landcorp Farming Ltd. Here he works to develop an alternative high-value dairy industry and product offerings.

With Hamish’s leadership, Pāmu Deer Milk has become a world-first ingredient, showcasing groundbreaking innovation in the New Zealand food industry.

Hamish sees enormous growth potential for targeted, high-value forms of functional dairy products, to positively contribute to the environment and people’s health and wellbeing.