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New Zealand’s dairy giant has taken another important step in its value-add strategy, with the announcement of a new mozzarella plant that will meet growing customer demand for its world-renowned cheese. 

The introduction of the new $240 million plant – doubling Fonterra’s capacity to produce its revolutionary individually quick frozen (IQF) mozzarella – will make Fonterra Clandeboye the largest producer of natural mozzarella in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Robert Spurway, Chief Operating Officer Global Operations, says demand for this mozzarella out of China and wider Asia continues to grow as more consumers seek out natural dairy products. 

“This new plant, like the two before it, uses patented technology to produce a high quality, natural mozzarella without using chemicals in the production process,” says Mr Spurway. 

“It is the only process of its kind in the world that can significantly reduce production time while still remaining 100% natural – something our customers and their consumers place great value in.” 

“It is one of our key product differentiators and has helped make mozzarella one of the most in-demand of our foodservice products. Once this expansion is complete, Fonterra’s mozzarella sales will have increased by more than 60% since 2008 when the first IQF plant was built,” he says. 

The world-class innovation behind the IQF mozzarella reduces the processing time from three months to just six hours, and is one of the Co-operative’s most tightly-kept secrets. 

The technology, developed by the Fonterra Research and Development Centre, has been supported by Transforming the Dairy Value Chain – a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry of Primary Industries, Fonterra and DairyNZ. 

Spurway says prioritising these types of value add investments is central to the Co-operative’s strategy. 

“Driving strong returns will always be at the heart of our business and turning our farmers’ milk into higher value products is key to this. At the same time, we are required to accept and process all milk which has meant we have needed to focus on capacity first rather than always investing in the highest value products,” he says.

“While the need to keep pace with milk volumes has certainly had an impact on how we invest, we have not sat back from our commitment to keep pushing milk up the value chain.

“We have continued to back ourselves through savvy investment in the right products, the right innovations to differentiate our products, and the right people to engage our global customers and sell them on pure New Zealand dairy.”

The new expansion will capture every cent of value from the milk. New plants will process the whey and lactose created in the cheese making process – both valuable dairy ingredients. A new wastewater treatment plant will ensure the plants operate sustainably. 

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Global Consumer and Foodservice Jacqueline Chow says Fonterra’s IQF mozzarella is already topping more than half the pizzas in China and continues to grow. 

“Forty percent of people in urban China now eat at Western style fast food outlets once a week, and the use of dairy in foodservice has grown by over 30% in just five years. 

“We see massive growth potential and our teams in the market are continually working to grow this valuable part of the business as we work towards foodservice becoming a $5 billion business by 2023.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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