Fonterra Australia’s new cheese plant taps on Asia

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: istock
Pic: istock

Related tags: Milk, Cheese, Southeast asia

Fonterra Australia’s new cheese plant will leverage Australia’s recently completed free trade agreements with China, Japan, and Korea, the company said. 

The company is investing $141m into a new cheese plant in Stanhope, it announced this month. 

Invest in Asia as developing dairy market

“At Fonterra, we’re focussed not only on growing our existing milk pools, but also growing milk in developing markets, including China, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka,”​ said Judith Swales, Fonterra Australia's managing director. 

“For Fonterra Australia, our milk intake accounts for around 1.7bn litres of that milk, of which around half is exported,”​ she added. “Major products exported for Fonterra are cheese, SMP, WMP, and AMF, to Japan, China, South East Asia, and the Middle East.”

However, Fonterra did not give any figures for its export percentage to the Asian market because they are considered commercially sensitive. 

“With the state-of-the-art plant, we’ll be able to produce more cheese more efficiently, enabling us to expand our footprint in the growing Chinese market and service strong demand for cheese for our global foodservice market,”​ Swales said. 

High export volume

Australia’s dairy industry produces around 9.7bn litres of milk every year, with around 40% of that volume exported, accounting for around 6% of world dairy trade, Swales said.

Swales said the company hopes the new plant will help Australia to become Fonterra’s global hub for cheese production, with cheese from the plant exported to over 100 markets. 

The new facility is expected to produce 45,000MT of cheese each year, including parmesan, gouda and mozzarella, and increase of 15,000MT on the previous plant. It is also expected to require an additional 100 million litres of milk to service cheese making requirements, which will require significant growth of the Northern Victorian milk pool.

“We see it as part of our role to share our dairy expertise and to assist in the development of robust dairy industries around the world. We do this through our Dairy Development Programme, which helps fledgling dairy industries become viable and sustainable industries,” ​she added.

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