The first cheese coming from the plant marks the completion of the 10-month build to install two new lines that double the site’s sliced cheese production capacity.
The new individually wrapped sliced cheese line was completed last year.
Fonterra managing director global operations, Robert Spurway, said the new line will help the cooperative to be more responsive to customers’ requirements.
More than 350 different specifications
He said that each of the company’s customers has slightly different requirements and uses for the cheese, and the additional capacity will allow for 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,” Spurway said.
Spurway said that Fonterra is using more of its farmer-suppliers’ milk in higher value products.
“The production of three and a half tonnes of cheese every hour shows how fast our new plant enables us to do this.”
Expansion to meet westernization demands
Fonterra director global foodservice Grant Watson said that as tastes become more westernized in Asia, there has been a big increase to make products such as burgers, pizza and pasta.
“Expansions such as this one at Eltham help us to capitalize on that growth,” said Watson.