Adding the new production line, at a cost of NZ$12m ($8.7m), will increase production of whipping cream by 40m cartons a year, increasing the site’s UHT capacity to 112,000 packs per hour.
Fonterra director global foodservice Grant Watson said the acceleration of plans to supply China with more UHT is exciting for the business, given new builds in the foodservice space are typically demand-led.
“The fact we have needed to bring the project forward is a good sign of dairy’s growing popularity in China and points to the strength of our teams in market who are identifying that demand and converting it into sales,” Watson said.
Foodservice sector growing
Fonterra’s recent annual results showed total sales in foodservice grew at a rate of 15% in the past year.
Fonterra chief operating officer global operations Robert Spurway said the new line enables the company to expand its operations to send more milk to higher value products in order to meet the ambition of foodservice becoming a NZ$5bn ($3.6bn) business by 2023.
The new line will be at full capacity by April next year and will create 14 full time jobs at the site.