Dairy lovers across Asia will soon get their first taste of an innovative new cream cheese, as Fonterra announces plans for two new cream cheese plants at its Darfield site in Canterbury.

The Co-operative marked the start of the ambitious project, inviting Selwyn MP Hon. Amy Adams and Selwyn District Council Mayor Sam Broughton to join Fonterra management and staff in turning the first sod on the new build.

Adams said: “Not only will this investment create jobs during both the construction and operational phases, it is also an excellent example of how New Zealand companies are shifting to value-added products and using innovation to tap into emerging markets.”

With cream cheese undergoing a steady surge in popularity in Asia, the $150 million two-stage project will see the first plant completed in 2018 with a second to follow in either 2019 or 2020.

The two new plants will incorporate Fonterra-first technology that will allow the firmness and consistency of the cream cheese they produce to be dialled up or down to meet customer preference.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer – Global Operations, Robert Spurway says this investment will be a significant one for the Co-operative and is a good demonstration of Fonterra’s strategy in action.

“This is not just about expanding our capability in manufacturing, it’s another marker in our strategy to continue delivering better returns to our farmers. What’s particularly exciting with this project is our ability to innovate with new technology that opens up all manner of new possibilities in some of our key markets,” says Spurway.

“Projects like these are great examples of how we’re keeping pace with customer preference. Not all cream cheese is the same, and one that is used in a beverage will be quite different to one that is used in a cream cake. The new technology we’re introducing at Darfield will give us the flexibility to quickly change our products to suit that need – a real game changer.”

Once the project is complete, Fonterra Darfield will become one of the largest producers of cream cheese in New Zealand, alongside the Co-operative’s Te Rapa site.

Spurway said: “Canterbury is fast becoming the Co-operative’s foodservice capital of New Zealand with nearly half a billion dollars of investment in this category over the past three years.”

Key facts:

Phase one – CC3

  • $100 million upgrade
  • Completed by August 2018
  • Similar scale to the new cream cheese plants recently built at Te Rapa
  • Up to 24,000MT of cream cheese each year for export
  • Introduces innovative technology
  • More than 30 new jobs
  • Up to 1,000 roles involved in the construction, planning and fit out across a wide range of industries

Phase two – CC4

  • $50 million upgrade
  • Completed by 2019 / 2020 depending on market demand
  • Producing up to 24,000MT each year for export
  • Additional staff numbers will be confirmed closer to construction

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