New Fonterra cream cheese plant starts production for Chinese market

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Fonterra's Darfield plant.
Fonterra's Darfield plant.

Related tags Fonterra Cream cheese China

Fonterra’s new cream cheese plant has started production and is set to manufacture up to 24,000 metric tonnes of cream cheese annually for the Chinese market.

The 20kg blocks of cream cheese from the Darfield plant, in Canterbury, New Zealand, will meet growing demand for bakery goods, like cheese cakes and cheese tarts, in the growing Chinese market.

Susan Cassidy, general manager marketing, Global Foodservice, Fonterra, said people in China want natural dairy products they can trust in their baked goods.

“That’s great for Fonterra and New Zealand,”​ Cassidy said.

Adding value

Robert Spurway, chief operating officer, Global Operations, Fonterra, said the new plant is an important part of the cooperative’s strategy to keep up the momentum in producing more value-added products for its Consumer and Foodservice business.

“Today, one in four liters of milk from New Zealand is sold to China – that’s the equivalent of 3.4bn liters a year. Our focus is on creating the highest return from each of those liters,” ​Spurway said.

“The new plant will enable us to convert more milk to high value cream cheese, which is in popular demand.  We’re really proud of our technology which alters the firmness and consistency of cream cheese according to customer preference. It’s a technology first and a huge competitive advantage.”

New jobs created

Darfield’s acting site operations manager Shane Taylor said the 30 new employees hired to operate the cream cheese plant have been looking forward to the site opening for the last six months.

“Most of the team have learnt everything from scratch. They’ve gone from classroom to practice to real life commissioning of the site,”​ Taylor added.

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