Fonterra says that this year, the plant will produce enough cheese to fill more than three billion burgers.
The first cheese marks the completion of the 10-month build that saw the installation of two new lines that will double the site’s sliced cheese production. The new individually wrapped sliced cheese line was completed last year.
Fonterra managing director of global operations Robert Spurway said, “Each of our customers has slightly different requirements and uses for the cheese we make for them, and this additional capacity will allow us to meet more than 350 different product specifications.”
“For example, one of the things McDonald’s tests us on is how quickly they can peel the cheese off the block. Our ability to consistently provide above their brand standard of quality is what makes us a preferred supplier.”
Plant produces product quickly
Spurway said the plant can produce three-and-a-half tonnes of cheese every hour, and the result is exports around the world.
“It’s great to see the worldwide reach this site has – if you pick up a burger in China, the Middle East or Africa you could be experiencing a little taste of Eltham,” said Spurway.
Fonterra director of global foodservice Grant Watson says the expansion, along with recent ones at Waitoa UHT, Te Rapa Cream Cheese and Clandeboye Mozzarella, are part of Fonterra’s strategy to keep up with growing global demand.
“As tastes become more westernized, particularly in Asia, we are seeing a big increase for ingredients to make products such as burgers, pizza and pasta. Globally, food service is growing at 6% annually and expansions such as this one at Eltham help us to capitalize on that growth,” said Watson.