Australians can have their dip and eat it too with Chobani Meze Dips

Chobani has released a range of high protein dips made with their signature yogurt, hitting supermarket shelves across the country. 

Packed with 14-15g of protein per 150g serve and 97 per cent fat-free, the Chobani Meze Dip range is set to redefine the category with single-serve dips suitable for everyday snacking, and not just for entertaining.

Conceived at one of Chobani’s regular Australian fan engagement days, the Chobani Meze Dips concept is a consumer-led innovation and Chobani’s first foray into the dips category globally.

According to Managing Director of Chobani Australia Peter Meek, fans were asked what else Chobani could do.

“We know that protein is important to these people. So we designed a range of Chobani Meze Dips that are delicious and packed with protein. A no compromise option that not only allows people to consume dips more often, but gives them a reason to actively do so,” Meek said.

Meek explains it is the same authentic straining process that made Chobani Yogurt a household name that was key to ensuring Chobani Mezé Dips achieved optimal consistency and unrivalled versatility.

“We use three cups of milk to make one cup of Chobani yogurt. However, to create the perfect base for our dips, we took this one step further; straining four cups of milk to make one cup of yogurt for our Chobani Meze Dips,” Meek said.

“The result is a range of deliciously thick dips that will not only hold up on your scoop of choice, but are so packed with protein they work as an accompaniment for sandwiches and wraps, or as a dressing for pastas and salads.”

Fonterra tops the list of IBISWorld’s Top 100 food and beverage companies

Fonterra has remained to be on the top of the IBIS list of food and beverage companies by revenue generated.

The largest 100 food and beverage companies in Australia generate in excess of $100 billion in revenue (up from over $96 billion in 2014-15) and employ more than 130,000 Australians. 

Strong growth in food processing industries, in addition to milk production in Australia benefitting from joint ventures and expansion of airfreighted fresh milk exports to growing Asian markets has pushed Fonterra into the #1 spot for over two years.

According to IBISWorld senior industry analyst Spencer Little, industry revenue is set to decline in the beer industry as alcohol consumption continues to fall.

"The two newcomers to the list are Green's Foods and a2 Milk. a2 Milk posted revenue growth of 40.2 per cent over the year through June 2015, on the back of fresh milk exports to China and substantial sales growth in a2 Platinum Infant Formula across Australia and New Zealand," Mr Little said.

"After purchasing the remaining 50 per cent interest in the a2 Milk Company Limited joint venture and converting it to a fully owned subsidiary, a2 Milk began exporting fresh milk to China in August 2014. Sales of the company's infant formula skyrocketed in 2014-15."

Top Ten Food and Beverage Companies revealed by IBISWorld

  1. Fonterra Co-Op Group
  2. Lion Nathan National Foods
  3. Coca-Cola Amatil
  4. JBS Australia
  5. Devondale Murray Goulburn
  6. Teys Australia
  7. Bidvest
  8. Inghams
  9. Food Investments
  10. Nestle

Fonterra drops farmgate price again as global milk glut worsens

Fonterra Co-operative Group has once again reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2015/16 season from $NZD4.60 per kgMS down to $NZD4.15 per kgMS.

When combined with the earnings per share range of 45-55 cents, this means a total available for payout of $NZD4.60-$NZD4.70 per kgMS and would currently equate to a forecast Cash Payout of $NZD4.50-$NZD4.55 per kgMS to New Zealand dairy farmers after retentions.

CEO Theo Spierings said that although global demand remained sluggish, Fonterra supported the general view that dairy prices will improve later this calendar year. 

“The time frame for supply and demand rebalancing has moved further out and largely depends on a downward correction in EU supply in response to the lower global prices. These prices are clearly unsustainably low for farmers globally and cannot continue in the longer term.”

And despite the perceived increased demand from regions such as Asia, according to Kelvin Wickham, Fonterra’s Managing Director of Global Ingredients, the reality is somewhat more complex with the global demand for dairy continuing to lag. 

“The main factors affecting demand are declining international oil prices, economic uncertainty in a number of emerging economies and a slow recovery of dairy imports into China.”

“On the supply side, in Europe, milk volumes have continued to increase significantly and these surplus volumes are being exported. In addition, the Russian ban on European Union dairy imports has pushed more product onto the world market,” said Wickham.

“Declining international oil prices have weakened the spending power of countries reliant on oil revenues, many which are major dairy importers, contributing to the weaker demand for dairy being seen globally.”

“It is an imbalance between supply and demand that continues to put pressure on global milk prices,” added Wickham,

“Fonterra supports the general view that dairy prices will improve later this calendar year – but this largely depends on a downward correction in EU supply in response to lower global prices,” he said.

Asked about the pain that low farmgate prices give to the farmers, Wickham noted that there was no question this reduction will be tough on New Zealand’s farmers. 

“Fonterra will look at options to assist farmers with on-farm cash flows, underpinned by the expected improvement in dividend returns and the financial strength of the Co-operative.”

However, for the medium to long term outlooks, the global dairy giant remains optimistic, at least publically, with CEO Spierings pointing out, “while a unique series of global issues are impacting the forecast Milk Price, the business is performing well, as outlined in our business update in November, and is on track to generate improved dividend returns.”

“Fonterra has remained focused on reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and shifting more milk into higher value products,” 

“It is important to state that despite the current challenges, we have confidence long term international dairy demand will continue its expansion due to a growing world population, increasing middle classes in Asia, urbanisation and favourable demographics,” concluded Spierings.

Fonterra hits record exports but milk volumes still down

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has announced it has exported record volumes for the month of December 2015.

Export data for the Co-operative in December confirms the new record for a single month’s volume, with more than 300,000 metric tonnes shipped globally.

December’s volume was approximately 10 per cent higher than Fonterra’s previous record month in December 2014.

Fonterra Managing Director for Global Ingredients, Kelvin Wickham said the new record reflected the ongoing successful performance of Fonterra’s direct-to-customer ingredients, consumer and foodservice sales despite the tough global market environment.

“This is an excellent achievement by our sales and logistics teams and it is gratifying to finish 2015 on a high with this record export volume.”

“We have seen unprecedented global volatility due to geopolitical events over the past year. The dairy market has been a tough environment globally, so we are pleased to achieve record export volumes despite the challenges.”

Wickham said the new benchmark would be difficult to surpass as reduced milk volumes began to impact on the Co-operative’s production levels.

Fonterra is forecasting a year-on-year reduction of milk volumes by at least 6 per cent this season as farmers responded to the low milk price environment and dry conditions impacted parts of New Zealand.

Since August 2015, Fonterra has reduced the amount of whole milk powder it expects to offer on the GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) platform over the next 12 months by 146,000 metric tonnes in response to a change in product mix away from base milk powders and continued successful contracting and demand through other sales channels.

“An increased portion of product is being sold through bilateral customer agreements for a premium on prices achieved on GDT. Ingredients inventory levels for the first quarter were in line with the same period last year,” said Wickham.

Fonterra finds novel way to drive cream sales in China

Fonterra China Foodservices has partnered with the country’s biggest restaurant rating website, – a site with more than 180 million active users – to find the best cakes in China using Anchor Cream.

 Esther Chu, Vice President of Fonterra China Foodservices, said the campaign has made an immediate splash among Fonterra’s bakery customers and consumers in China.
“More than 5,200 outlets from 158 bakery customers in 241 cities across China have jumped on board and, in just three weeks, more than seven million votes have been cast by Chinese cake lovers,” she says.
“Before the campaign started, only 54% of the 405 participating recipes were topped with Anchor cream so to qualify all of them have converted, which will have a direct impact on our sales.”
With Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year, along with a number of major festivals, all falling within the space of a few short months, winter is the peak season for cake consumption in China.
“The competition is perfectly timed to maximise brand and product exposure and drive cake sales, and the response from our customers and their consumers is testament to that,” says Chu.
Every drop of Anchor Cream used in the competition is sourced from the Co-operative’s new state-of-the-art UHT facility at Waitoa, in the Waikato, meaning it is the freshest whipping cream in the market, says Operations Manager Russell Muir.
“China is a real growth market for UHT cream, so we’re pulling out all the stops to ensure when our customers order Anchor they’re getting the freshest cream. We’ve put a programme in place to get our cream to market faster and have managed to cut that lead time down to around 33 days from Waitoa to China.”
Fonterra’s premium Anchor brand is already a leading player in China’s dairy cream segment. But the business has an ambitious goal to increase Anchor cream sales at a 42 per cent compound annual growth rate from F15 to F18. To achieve that, it will continue to work hard on converting bakery customers from using non-dairy to Anchor dairy ingredients.
“The market share of dairy cream in China’s booming bakery sector is still small compared to more matured markets. But with bakeries gaining popularity and Chinese consumers’ increasing awareness towards health, there has been steadily increasing demand for dairy nutrition here in China. This creates huge opportunities for our Anchor professional dairy ingredients business here,” Chu noted.
The campaign winner will be announced in January 2016.

The a2 Milk Company growing on the back of baby formula

The a2 Milk Company has forecast its revenues will hit $285 million in the 2016 financial year.

The milk company said it has experienced a significant uplift in sales of infant formula in the month of November, exceeding the sales projected at the time of the previous forecast. This is expected to continue in the month of December. 

Based on the current trading trends, the a2 Milk Company is now forecasting Group revenue in the range of $300 million to $315 million, and Group operating EBITDA in the range of $33 million to $37 million for the 2016 financial year.

The Company’s Managing Director & CEO Mr. Geoffrey Babidge said, “The infant formula market in Australia is rapidly evolving and experiencing significant growth. The Company has recently increased the supply of a2 Platinum infant formula to our customers however we continue to experience a level of out of stocks on shelf. The strong trading performance advised today provides further evidence of the increasing appeal of the a2 Platinum brand in Australia and China and the growth potential in additional markets in the future”.

UPDATE: Fonterra offloads its Australian yoghurt business to Parmalat

Fonterra has announced it will sell its Australian yoghurt and dairy dessert business to Parmalat Australia.

The sale, which is conditional on regulatory and other approvals, is expected to be completed in the first half the of the 2016 calendar year.

The divestment of its Australian yoghurt and dairy desserts business, which includes manufacturing sites at Tamar Valley and Echuca as well as its Australian yoghurt and dairy dessert brands, is part of a comprehensive plan to return the Australian business to strong and sustainable profitability. 

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said these changes were the result of driving a clear strategic plan to transform the Australian business to deliver stronger returns to farmer shareholders and unit holders.

“We are focusing on areas where we can win in a highly competitive market, and that means optimising our product mix and streamlining operations to match, and investing in higher value add products that will deliver the best returns for our farmer shareholders and unit holders.”

“As a key part of our multi-hub strategy, we are matching these strengths with the opportunities across our 100 markets,” said Spierings.

Fonterra Managing Director Oceania Judith Swales said Fonterra is “totally committed to the Australian dairy industry”

“We will continue investing in programs and innovation that supports our market-leading brands in key retail categories, including Western Star butter and Perfect Italiano, Mainland and Bega cheeses, Anchor cream, and fresh milk.”

“Divesting the yoghurt and dairy desserts business will allow us to focus on what we do best, so we can continue delivering a competitive milk price to our suppliers, benefits to our customers, innovative dairy foods to our consumers, and improved returns to our farmer shareholders and unit holders,” concluded Ms Swales.

According to a Fonterra spokesperson, the decision to sell our Australian yoghurt and dairy dessert business is part of a comprehensive plan to return Fonterra’s Australian business to strong and sustainable profitability.

"The sale will allow us to focus on what we do best, and lock in our competitive position in the Australian market – we will focus on investing in the growth of our other market-leading brands, including Western Star, Perfect Italiano, Bega, and Mainland, and our recently launched Anchor brand."

"It’s no secret our yoghurt and dairy desserts business has been challenged in recent years," the spokesperson said."

"Our people have worked hard to improve the returns from our yoghurt and dairy dessert business, and their efforts have resulted in good performance from Tamar Valley and agreements achieved with key customers to drive volume and category growth. It is a sign of respect for their hard work that all employees at our Echuca and Tamar Valley plants have received offers of employment from Parmalat."

"This sale will have no impact to our Anchor or Riverina Fresh yoghurt, which we produce in foodservice format at our Wagga Wagga facility, nor will it impact our New Zealand yoghurt business."

Cornetto price drop linked to falling sales

What are the motives behind Unilever dropping the unit price of Cornetto and what it could possibly means for the local impulse ice cream market?, asks Lianne van den Bos, Senior Food Analyst, Euromonitor International.

Take-home ice cream is the dominating category for Australasia, North America and Western Europe where manufacturers' efforts lie in making ice cream a year-round treat – and thus a planned purchase. For the remaining regions, impulse ice cream is most popular and underscores the fact that ice cream consumption is traditionally linked to warm weather and is thus bought on impulse.
In markets such as Australia, where consumers on average buy the most ice cream in the world, the top three players capture over 64 per cent of ice cream sales, with the retail landscape geared towards the ice cream powerhouses Unilever and Nestlé.
However Unilever’s market share in Australian ice cream has dropped by 4 per cent over 2010-2015. As a result, the company has developed a new strategy for its Cornetto brand, not only in Australia, but also across a number of other countries.
Unilever’s new strategy for the Cornetto brand looks to be making the brand a snack that competes directly with chocolate confectionery countlines by lowering the unit price significantly. 

In fact in Australia, Unilever has announced it will reduce the brand from a recommended AUS$3.20 to just AUS$2, in line with the average threshold of around AUS$2 per serving in chocolate countlines. With this drastic reduction Unilever wants to ‘unlock growth for Cornetto and bring new consumers to the category through this ‘loose change’ offer’.
By lowering the price of Cornetto to something in line with a standard chocolate bar, Unilever is positioning its ice cream as a much more affordable impulse snack. This tactic is an interesting way of growing the share of impulse ice cream in a market facing a dominant but stagnating take-home ice cream sector, which is typical across several large developed markets.

Frosty Boy’s growth points to more Asian expansion

2015 has been a big year for Frosty Boy Australia (Frosty Boy), with sales on target for double-digit growth for this financial year, according to the company. 

With this growth, Felipe Demartini has recently been appointed to the position of General Manager Sales and Marketing to support the Queensland-based manufacturer’s international targets in 2016.

Previously serving as the National Sales and Marketing Manager of Frosty Boy,
Demartini’s role now covers the company’s domestic and international markets, an area which is proving to be crucial in Frosty Boy’s business growth.

Demartini’s background includes working as a marketing manager in the FMCG industry within the competitive Brazilian market. 

Since being at Frosty Boy, Demartini has helped grow sales by 25 per cent in the domestic market. He has also successfully led the development of Frosty Boy’s premium beverage line ‘The Art of Blend’, launched in September 2014.

Demartini said he was excited to be at the forefront of Frosty Boy’s sales and marketing effort and is eager to develop long-term strategies in order to drive growth. 

The focus for next year will be to grow business in China and India, the company said.

Malaysia consumes 1.9 million glasses of NZ milk every day

More and more Malaysians are looking to Fonterra dairy to meet their daily nutrition needs with local consumers enjoying the equivalent of 1.9 million glasses of Fonterra branded dairy products every day. 

 This includes Fonterra consumer branded and foodservice products, sold in Malaysia under the Anchor, Fernleaf, Anlene, Anmum, Mainland and CalciYum brands. Fonterra also sells dairy ingredients to food and beverage manufacturers in the country.  
Fonterra Brands Malaysia Managing Director Jose Miguel Porraz-Lando said Malaysians are consuming more dairy than ever before and Fonterra is well placed to meet this growing demand.
“Fonterra has been supplying high-quality dairy nutrition to Malaysians for generations and today we’ve got market leading brands across the dairy category. Anlene is the number one high calcium milk product in Malaysia, Anmum Materna is the leading maternal milk brand and we’re market leaders across the foodservice category.”
Mr Porraz-Lando added that Fonterra’s two Malaysia-based manufacturing facilities have the capacity to process 10,000 metric tonnes of New Zealand dairy products each year.
“We make these New Zealand dairy ingredients into a range of consumer-branded products that are consumed locally in Malaysia and exported to markets across South East Asia and the Middle East.
“The region’s fast-growing population is becoming increasingly wealthy driving dairy demand growth across the region. This presents an exciting opportunity for Fonterra and we’re helping to capitalise on this opportunity through our Malaysia operations,” said Mr Porraz-Lando.

Fonterra maintains milk price despite China slowdown

Fonterra Co-operative Group has said it has maintained a forecast Farmgate Milk Price of $4.60 per kgMS. Along with the November announced estimated Earnings Per Share range of 45-55 cents, this amounts to a total available for payout of $5.05-$5.15 kgMS and would currently equate to a total forecast Cash Payout of $4.95-$5.00.

 Chairman John Wilson said the stable forecast reflected the Board and management’s view that international prices would continue to improve in the first half of next year.  

“While there are signs of a recovery, particularly in China, we still need the imbalance between supply and demand to correct.”

“That imbalance is starting to reduce with year to date production in the United States up by only one per cent and slowing, and New Zealand volumes expected to be down by at least six per cent over the current season. In the EU, however, farmers are continuing to push production, currently up one per cent.”

“We will provide some $390 million in support to around 75 per cent of our farmers through the most productive half of the season, including the peak."

Farms typically produce 60 per cent of their milk in the first half, with production beginning to taper off from December, so we have provided support when it is needed the most,” Wilson said.

Competition is driving ice cream premiumisation

The growth in popularity of premium ice-cream, combined with the growing number of health conscious consumers has contributed to a surge in the number of ice cream manufacturers keen to play in this market, including Unilever Australia and Norco Co-operative. 

Premium ice cream and gourmet gelato products continue to gain popularity, boosting industry growth as customers that seek these products are typically less sensitive to mild price fluctuations and are willing to pay more for quality ice-cream. IBISWorld said that it expects revenue from ice cream sales to grow at a compound annual rate of 13.6 per cent over the five years through 2015-16.

Norco Co-operative, a company wholly owned by Australian dairy farmers, produces two-litre tub ice cream products under the Coles private-label brand, which are targeted towards the premium ice-cream consumer. 

This range includes gourmet flavours such as Lamington Style, Caramel and Macadamia, Lemon Meringue and Pavlova Passion.  The release of these flavours has come in response to increasing competition from niche ice-creameries such as Movenpick and Gelatissimo, which offer their own premium take-home tub products in a range of innovative and gourmet flavours. 

Norco has responded to consumer demand for premium take-home multi-pack ice creams by manufacturing products for the Coles Classics range, which bear strong resemblance to popular premium ice cream brands Heaven and Magnum. 

Norco has also catered for the growing health-conscious consumer segment by promoting its Light Prestige range, which includes ice-cream products with a lower fat content. The company’s contract arrangements with major supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have ensured steady demand for its premium ice-cream products.

In an industry where revenue is expected to reach $AUD1.1 billion in 2015-16, privately owned Unilever Australia has also faced fierce competition. The company first ventured into ice-cream manufacturing after it acquired McNivens ice cream in 1959. The company also owns ice cream brand Streets, which has allowed it to capture a greater share of the market. Unilever Australia currently holds an estimated 27.6 per cent of industry revenue, primarily through strong marketing for the Streets brand, which has amassed a loyal consumer following for its Magnum, Cornetto, Paddle Pop and Golden Gaytime varieties.

Unilever has also pursued growth through premiumisation, altering its marketing strategy in line with shifts in consumer tastes towards premium products. 

As a result, the company’s ice cream revenue is expected to grow by 14.2 per cent over the five years through 2015-16. Unilever’s recent expansion of its premium brand, Magnum, offers new gourmet flavours and take-home tub options, which have proved successful with its loyal consumer base.

Whilst premium ice-cream products have experienced great success over the past five years, IBISWorld has forecast that industry revenue growth will slow to 1.7 per cent annualised over the five years through 2020-21. 

Despite expected growth in discretionary income levels, the growing number of health-conscious consumers may negatively influence consumer ice-cream purchases, as individuals seek healthier snack options and desserts with lower fat and sugar content.


Fonterra officially opens new ‘green’ milk powder plant

Fonterra has officially commissioned its brand new high-efficiency plant in Pahiatua, which is now producing milk powder destined for more than 20 markets worldwide.

 The plant came online in August this year and has already produced more than 30,000 metric tonnes of high-quality whole milk powder destined for key markets including Sri Lanka and Algeria.
Minister for Primary Industries Hon Nathan Guy joined local farmers and community members to officially open the new plant.
Fonterra Chairman John Wilson said the new $NZ235 million high-efficiency dryer is one project in a $NZ2.4 billion investment program to accommodate milk growth and allows the Co-operative to make the most out of its lower North Island farmers’ milk.
“This new plant will help us process large volumes of milk in a way that delivers the most value to our farmers and will also help us meet the growing global demand for dairy nutrition.
“Last year, milk production in this region was up 4.3 per cent on the previous year and we expect volumes to increase in the future.”
Around 3000 people worked over 800,000 hours to finish the project, which was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Fonterra Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway said the commissioning of the plant was one of the Co-operative’s smoothest and most efficient.
“The team produced some of the best commissioning figures we’ve ever seen and the plant has been operating well above budgeted performance.
“The new dryer was a valuable addition to our asset base ahead of this season’s peak, providing more capacity which allows us to drive greater efficiency and value in our product mix.”
Along with the new plant, the site has added new infrastructure that allows it to manage additional milk volumes.
This includes a new wastewater treatment plant, a reverse osmosis plant that allows the site to reuse its own condensate, a new gas-fired boiler with a number of heat recovery systems and a new distribution centre that’s the size of three rugby fields.
“It’s this supporting infrastructure that is helping to reduce our environmental impact while also making the dryer one of the most efficient in the world,” said Spurway.

Freedom Foods acquires Popina Foods and launches in China

Freedom Foods Group has completed the acquisition of Popina Foods, a major Australian manufacturer of oat-based cereals and snacks.

Popina Foods is a recognised leader in cluster format cereal and snacks in Australasia, with manufacturing operations based in Dandenong, Victoria. The acquisition will allow Freedom to have dual manufacturing capability in both allergen free and nut based capabilities and integration opportunities across its milling and ingredients operations.

The purchase price for Popina Foods was approximately $AUD35 million. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings in its first full year of operations and is expected to provide operational efficiencies in the medium term.

Existing oat based manufacturing capabilities at Popina are at capacity, reflecting increased market demand for cluster format cereal and snacks in Australasia and recognition of Popina as a leading manufacturer in this area.

To provide additional capacity to meet the growing demands of existing Popina customers and its branded portfolio as well as capability to grow into China and SE Asia, Freedom Foods has committed to a significant expansion of cereal oven capabilities at Popina’s facility in Dandenong, Victoria.

Freedom Foods is also reviewing options to fast track volume, format and efficiency opportunities across its combined snacking capabilities.

The market for oat based cereal products including cluster and premium muesli porridge formats is expected to grow at a fast pace, driven by demand for better quality oats in existing consumption formats and also changing consumption patterns. 

The demand for high quality Australian origin oats will also be further developed by consumers accessing product through China’s cross border free trade zones and the China Australia Free Trade Agreement that will reduce tariffs on oat based products over the next five years.

With the newly acquired Popina product range and capabilities, Freedom Foods has fast tracked the launch into China of Freedom Foods “Arnolds Farm” cluster and muesli products to coincide with the upcoming 12/12 and Chinese New year promotional periods. 

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter adds a new channel to its brand

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, Australia's oldest dairy operating since 1888, has acquired Lion Dairy and Drinks' everyday cheese brands – Coon, Cracker Barrel, Mil Lel and Fred Walker and now will be focussing its energies on its Foodservice business. 

Taking over the iconic Coon, Cracker Barrel, Mil Lel and Fred Walker brands, coupled with its award-winning Warrnambool Heritage cheddars, provides WCB the platform to leverage and grow in the Foodservice channel, the company said.

"We have always provided the input cheese to the Lion business and now we have these iconic brands coupled with our award-winning Warrnambool Heritage range it makes perfect sense to beef up and have a deliberate focus on our Foodservice offering," said WCB's National Business Manager for Foodservice & Industrial, Damien Sorensen.

"That means more simplified processes, a more efficient supply chain, better on-time delivery, regular customer contact – all the things that our customers expect a key supply partner to be. We just want to be easier to deal with, whilst providing a premium dairy offer," Sorensen said.

This focus has included boosting its Foodservice team around the country – a team that will continue to grow with the needs of the business and requirements of our dynamic and changing marketplace.

While WCB has had a relatively low profile in Foodservice previously, it is the engine-room to many of the country's highest profile dairy processors and this is just the beginning for WCB with bold plans to make Foodservice a key ingredient of its business.

To ensure the continued quality and consistency of all its products, WCB has also invested in additional staff including recruiting highly regarded cheese grader Dave Mellor from UK dairy giant Pilgrims Choice.

"Thousands of tonnes of cheese comes out of the dairy every year and it is up to me to grade it all. It's lucky I love cheese," Mellor said.

Fonterra to invest $128 million in cheese plant

Fonterra Australia will invest AUD$128 million in building a state-of-the-art cheese plant at its Stanhope factory in Victoria. The new facility will replace the hard cheese plant, which was destroyed by fire in December 2014, with a larger, modern facility that will produce cheeses for Australian consumer, foodservice and export markets.

Fonterra Oceania Managing Director Judith Swales says investing in the new plant will help Fonterra to deliver on its multi-hub strategy to get the maximum value out of every drop of milk and drive increased returns from the business.
“Today’s announcement is strategy in action, where we are delivering on our strategic plan to transform our Australian business and return it to strong and sustainable profitability.
“We are focusing on areas where we can win in a highly competitive market, and that means optimising our product mix and investing in higher value add products that will deliver the best returns for our farmer shareholders. Rebuilding and expanding our Stanhope cheese plant is key to this.
“The new state-of-the-art facility will be able to produce 45,000MT of cheeses each year including parmesan, gouda and mozzarella, an increase of 15,000MT on the previous plant.
“As the branded market leader in the AUD$1.95 billion retail cheese category, with Bega, Mainland and Perfect Italiano commanding 23 per cent market share, the new plant will supply our Australian consumer and foodservice businesses, and export markets.
“It will leverage our footprint in 100 markets and also the recent free trade agreements with China, Japan, and Korea.”
“The new cheese plant is an important part of our multi-hub strategy, which sees our Australian business play to its ingredients strengths in cheese, whey and nutritionals complemented by our consumer and foodservice businesses. It will provide whey to our Darnum and Dennington plants, which are at the core of our growing Australian nutritionals business.”
”Importantly, the new plant will require significant growth of the local milk pool by 2020, and demonstrates Fonterra’s commitment to growing the industry long term. It means our local farmers can be assured of the future of dairy in northern Victoria,” said Ms Swales.
The multi-million dollar project will secure the future of the site and generate up to 30 jobs and is being supported by the Victorian Government through its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund.
Speaking at the unveiling of the plans, Victoria’s Minister for Regional Development, the Hon. Jaala Pulford said Fonterra’s investment demonstrated its confidence in the future of Australian dairy.
“Fonterra’s significant investment in their Stanhope facility is a major vote of confidence in Victoria’s dairy industry and confirms regional Victoria’s reputation as a great place to do business.” 
Construction of the new plant will begin next year, and is expected to be completed in 2017.

Anchor launches new premium cream range

The dairy aisle is set to experience a shakeup this month with the arrival of Anchor cream; a premium range of quality creams made from 100 per cent Australian dairy.

With over 125 years dairying experience around the globe, Anchor saw a gap in the market to deliver a high-quality, Australian-made, fresh cream range that boasts unique packaging for ultimate convenience in the kitchen.

Created with foodies and cooks in mind, the new Anchor Cream range features innovative markers on the side of the bottle to ensure precise pouring and easy measurement. For added convenience, screw top lids allow for safe storage and will eliminate those messy drips and leaks.
But the measure of perfection doesn't stop there. Anchor Cream's bottles are also unique in size, with exact one (250mL) and two-cup (500mL) size products to make following a recipe hassle free.

Originating in New Zealand, Anchor is a leading dairy brand in many markets globally and is renowned for its grass to glass supply chain. Now operating in Australia, a newly built state-of-the-art Cobden plant in South West Victoria, makes Anchor's fresh cream. 

Anchor cream is created from milk from a select group of 34 local dairy farmers to ensure the finest Australian dairy is used to create their cream.

New analytical methods for micronutrient testing of infant formula

New International Standards have been introduced by the ISO to improve methods of testing vitamins and micronutrients in infant formula.

The nutritional quality of infant formula is often based in international standards and regulations, as it provides essential nutrients for the adequate and development of babies and young children.

Test methods are constantly evolving in an international effort to verify the delivery of nutrients, yet there is a lack of a streamlined approach in which parties can produce similar results around the globe.

A new Stakeholder Panel on Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals (SPIFAN) project, in which ISO standards are globally integrated and published to help manufacturers of infant formula and official control laboratories check compliance with regulations.

According to ISO Communication Officer Sandrine Tranchard, the new ISO International Standards will be proposed to reference methods that enable them to be utilized for the purposes of dispute resolution internationally.

“This will result in more accurate determination of the nutritional quality of infant formula as well as fewer trade disputes caused by differences in analytical results. In addition, these methods will provide internationally validated anchor points to calibrate routine methods for manufacturing purposes,” Tranchard said.

Approximately 10 to 15 projects are currently underway to provide global stakeholders with up-to-date harmonized methods on other relevant nutrients in infant formula and adult nutritionals.

The Australian Federal Government is currently reviewing legislation to ensure that mums have access to infant formula for children under the age of one, as the popularity of formula feeding in China has meant that health and quality problems become more commonplace as the middle class has continued to rise.

Fonterra expands its Lactoferrin manufacturing capacity

It takes 10,000 litres of milk and sophisticated technology to make just one kilogram of Lactoferrin – a high-value ingredient that Fonterra has recently doubled its capacity to produce.

The new $AUD11 million upgrade of the Lactoferrin plant at the Co-operative’s Hautapu site is now running at full volume, helping to meet growing worldwide demand for the product affectionately known as ‘pink gold’.
Lactoferrin is a naturally occurring iron-binding protein found in milk and is in high demand, particularly in Asia, for a wide range of nutritional applications from infant formula through to health foods and yoghurts.
Fonterra Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway says although the volumes of Lactoferrin the Co-operative exports seem small compared to many other dairy ingredients, a little goes a long way.
“While we’re seeing strong growth in demand for Lactoferrin across a number of our key markets, the fact that we measure growth for this product in kilograms rather than in tonnes gives an idea as to the potency and value of Lactoferrin.”
“It really is the ‘icing on the cake’ for Fonterra, as it can be extracted out of skimmed milk or whey, without impacting the use of that milk in other dairy products.”

Extracting this specialised protein from milk is something very few dairy manufacturers can do, due to the investment needed in both capital and research and development, said Mr Spurway.
Fonterra Chief Science and Technology Officer Dr Jeremy Hill says growing demand for Lactoferrin in many Asian countries is due to research showing the diverse biological functions of the protein.
“Lactoferrin is present in human milk in high proportions, and breast-fed infants will consume up to three grams a day during their first week of life. This abundance of Lactoferrin in human milk is considered to be an indication of its importance in infant nutrition,” Dr Hill said.

Is milk good for me, or should I ditch it?

Decades of public health messages have encouraged us to drink milk to strengthen our bones and reduce the risk of fractures as we age.

But dairy products have recently come under fire – and not just from paleo dieters and animal welfare supporters. Researchers have linked high milk intakes to bone fractures, cancer and premature ageing.

Only last month two research reviews, published in the British Medical Journal, reported that calcium supplementation and dietary calcium intake didn’t substantially reduce the risk of hip fractures or increase bone mineral density in adults aged over 50 years.

We would love to give a definitive answer on whether milk is healthy or harmful, and whether you should include it in your diet. But the reality is, it all depends.

It depends on how much and what kind of milk products you consume. It depends on whether you’re an omnivore or vegetarian. And it depends on your age and current health status. So, whether you’re underweight or carrying excess weight, elderly or convalescent, or have food allergies or intolerance.

Let’s look at whether the arguments against cow’s milk stack up.

1. Milk increases your risk of chronic diseases

The most recent reviews of the evidence have shown that drinking milk is not associated with increased risk of premature death.

Dairy consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes and colon (bowel) cancer.

Milk, dairy and calcium have not been conclusively associated with an increased or decreased risk of any other cancer. But there is limited evidence to suggest dairy increases the risk of prostate cancer.

Dietary calcium and dairy products are important for bone development up until the end of adolescence and for maintaining peak bone mass in adulthood.


Calcium is essential for maintaining bone health in children. Jessica Lucia/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND


But there seem to be few benefits for older adults, in terms of fracture prevention, neither for dietary intake or supplementation. There are also possible adverse effects from too much calcium, such as kidney stones, heart problems and gastrointestinal symptoms.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that there are few robust clinical trials of the long-term effects, especially in the context of chronic disease. And milk intake can be vastly diverse (quantity and form). So it’s difficult to compare study conditions and provide definitive conclusions.

2. Cow’s milk is for calves and not for humans

Human breast milk is arguably the first food the human gastrointestinal tract is exposed to. It provides a large selection of vital macro- and micronutrients to promote growth and development of the newborn.

Cow’s, goat’s and other mammals' milk provide approximately the same selection of nutrients but in different ratios. Here’s how 100 millilitres of human milk compares with cow’s milk:

  • Protein: 1.2g (human milk) versus 3.1g (cow’s milk)
  • Fat: 3.6g versus 3.8g
  • Lactose: 7.8g versus 4.7g
  • Calcium: 30mg versus 120mg
  • Phosphorus: 14mg versus 91mg

Note the larger concentration of lactose in human milk, but the significantly lower protein, calcium, phosphorus and slightly lower fat concentration.

Lactose (the naturally occurring sugar found in milk) is broken down into glucose and galactose in the gut by an enzyme, lactase.

Lactase is present in the gut of babies but production declines after weaning in two-thirds of the world’s population. This is known as lactase non-persistence. The natural decline of lactase production is the basis for the argument that we’re not “designed” to continue to consume milk.

However lactase persistence (tolerance) is an inherited trait thought to be associated with dairy farming and has been identified in dairy-consuming populations around the world.

People with lactase non-persistence are largely lactose-intolerant. When these people consume milk, lactose remains unabsorbed in the gut, causing bloating (due to bacterial fermentation) and build-up of fluid leading to diarrhoea.

It’s worth noting that products derived from milk, such as yogurt and cheese, have significantly lower concentrations of lactose due to the yogurt and cheese making processes, so they may be well tolerated.

3. Milk accelerates the ageing process

Lactose is made of two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. When lactose is digested, galactose is absorbed and metabolised, resulting in the metabolite D-galactose.

Animal studies have found that D-galactose increases oxidative stress in mice and accelerates the ageing process in flies. Oxidative stress essentially means that the body’s antioxidant “capacity” (dietary antioxidants compounds and the body’s antioxidant enzymes) is less than than the amount of free radicals. This imbalance leads to oxidative damage and ageing.

These animal studies have prompted some scientists to argue that drinking milk accelerates ageing in humans, by increasing oxidative stress and inflammation from galactose exposure.

But there is insufficient evidence for the theory and a lack of association between chronic disease and milk consumption, as outlined above in humans.


There is insufficient evidence to link milk with accelerated ageing. Robert Hoetink/Shutterstock


It is worth pointing out that human breast milk contains a much greater concentration of lactose – therefore galactose – than cow’s milk. If the link with increased oxidative stress was a possibility, it would have perhaps been observed earlier.

A subset of children, however, are born with the genetic disease galactosaemia. This is where the body is unable to metabolise galactose because it lacks one or more functional enzymes. The build up of galactose causes serious health problems. Total galactose (also present in other than dairy foods) avoidance is currently the only treatment.

4. Cut down on milk because it’s high in saturated fat

Milk and dairy products, especially full-fat varieties, are high in saturated fat. Two-thirds (68%) of milk fat is saturated fat.

Saturated fat has been suggested to increase concentrations of “bad” cholesterol in the blood and to increase the risk of heart disease.

For decades, dietary guidelines have recommended consuming low-fat dairy products to reduce saturated fat intake.

More recently, though, the evidence linking saturated fat to cholesterol production and to heart disease has been debated. Specifically, in relation to milk intake, the most recent literature review and a cross-sectional study suggested that milk intake was not associated with an overall increased risk of heart disease. And those consuming full-fat dairy were less likely to have metabolic syndrome (a condition that includes risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes).

Recommendations to consume low-fat dairy products remain in the Australian dietary guidelines and are likely to be in the revised United States dietary guidelines, due to be released later this year. These recommendations are generally justified in the context of obesity, however, as fat contributes the greatest amount of energy of all macronutrients.

The quantity of milk consumed is important to consider in any case – a dash (40 mL) of full fat milk in a cup of tea or coffee will provide 1.6 grams of fat (1.1 grams of saturated fat) and 118 kJ of energy. A full fat milk “grande latte” will provide approximately 15 grams of fat (10.2 grams of saturated fat) and 934 kJ of energy.

5. Milk is a cocktail of hormones, pesticides and antibiotics

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) sets and tightly regulates food standards. All milk is extensively tested to ensure it meets these standards and is free from chemical and biological contaminants.

The penalties for farmers who breach these conditions are heavy, which act as an effective deterrent. Any cows treated with antibiotics (for mastitis, for instance) are identified and their milk discarded for the required length of time to ensure it does not become mixed with the farm bulk milk.

If a bulk consignment is shown to have antibiotic residues (even minute amounts), it is condemned in its entirety and the farmer receives no income.


The penalties for breaching FSANZ conditions are heavy. Jeremy Reding/Flickr, CC BY-NC


While recombinant bovine growth hormone is approved for use in the dairy industry in the United States, it is banned from use in Australia.

Pasteurisation (heat treatment) destroys any disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli, listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter that may be present in milk. These bacteria can lead to serious health problems and, in some cases, death.

In Australia, it is illegal to sell milk for human consumption that has not been pasteurised.

So is it bad or good for me?

The question(s) should probably be:

  • Do dairy foods suit my physiology?
  • Which dairy foods suit me best and how much of them should I include in my diet?
  • Are fermented or unfermented milk products more suitable?
  • If I don’t tolerate dairy foods, how can I receive the same valuable nutrients from other foods?

In addition to the nutrients mentioned earlier, milk provides vitamins A, B1, B2, B12 (and D when it has been added), potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium, with concentrations varying according to the feeding quality of the animal.

Non-dairy, plant-based milk alternatives – such as soy, almond, oat, rice and coconut – have a different nutrient profile, and may be fortified to match dairy milk on certain micronutrients.

While robust clinical trials measuring the long-term health implications remain scarce, dairy consumption – and yogurt, in particular – is associated with greater diet quality, perhaps because it provides such a variety of target nutrients.

If they suit your physiology, milk and dairy products will help you meet your daily nutrient recommendations for optimal health.

The Conversation

Veronique Chachay, Research & Teaching Academic , The University of Queensland and Marina Reeves, Associate professor, The University of Queensland

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.