A new type of mascarpone is set to prove a treat with consumers in Japan, as Fonterra puts the final touches on a project aimed at meeting growing global demand for dairy.
The recently commissioned mascarpone line at the Co-operative’s Te Rapa site brings a new offering to Fonterra’s already strong portfolio of exported ingredients.
Project Manager Shane van den Hurk says it is a different to the mascarpone most Kiwis will be familiar with. “The mascarpone you find in most supermarket chillers is made to be balanced – slightly sweet, a bit creamy, but with a relatively low fat content so it’s good for ready-to-eat consumption.
“Our ingredients customers, on the other hand, are looking for something that packs more of a punch. When used as an ingredient, a high quality mascarpone should have much more depth of flavour; it should be richer, sweeter and with a higher percentage of natural dairy fats.
“That’s what gives a milk shake its creaminess and what makes ice creams more decadent.”
Japan is a rapidly growing market for dairy consumption, in particular ice cream which has traditionally been considered a treat for children only. The emergence of premium ice cream brands has seen a growing preference for these products among adult consumers, with recent Euromonitor data showing sales of ice cream reaching record levels in 2015.
The $5 million project is the result of innovative thinking, and means more milk will be driven up the value chain without building a dedicated new plant, says van den Hurk. “We’ve been able to apply existing technology in a creative way that allows us to switch our frozen cream line – where we’ve got capacity – over to mascarpone quickly and easily.
“Much of that milk was previously turned into commodity products such as anhydrous milk fat, so it’s a win-win that we’re about to add significantly more value to our farmers’ milk for a small investment.”
The first major shipment of mascarpone is set to sail for Japan in January 2017.
Photo: Fonterra Te Rapa, the home of the Co-op’s new export mascarpone line.