NEW ZEALAND – Dairy co-operative Fonterra plans on further expanding its UHT site at Waitoa, New Zealand as the cooperative works to keep ahead of growing demand for its products

According to the company, a new line will be operational by the end of the year, as the third new line to be installed in the last 12 months,

The investment is in addition to Fonterra’s US$112 million investment in UHT production at the same site over the last five years as it aims to produce 80,000 cartons of milk and cream every hour for global markets.

According to the company, the planned expansion of the site will triple capacity of the plant to 45,000 cartons of one-litre UHT products every hour, from the current 15,000 packs per hour.

Fonterra chief operating officer of global operations Robert Spurway said the continued expansion at Waitoa is being driven by the success of the cooperative’s consumer and foodservice business, keeping pace with the on-going demand for New Zealand dairy products.

“Exports of UHT cream in particular have grown rapidly – more than doubling in the past two seasons,” said Spurway.

“Much of this growth has been fuelled by Asia as they look to include more dairy in their diet. This has led to some outstanding results – sales of cream to tea kiosks have increased fivefold in the past two years.

The investment has also created 150 new jobs at the Waitoa site.

Once complete, the new line will bring the site’s total processing capacity to more than 250 million litres of UHT cream and milk per year.