Growing demand for UHT milk products has led dairy co-operative Fonterra to expand its Waitoa UHT site in New Zealand.
Over the last five years the co-operative has invested $162 million in the site, which now produces over 80,000 cartons of UHT milk and cream every hour.
As part of this latest investment, a new line – the third in 12 months – will be up and running by the end of the year, Fonterra confirmed.
Each new line can produce 15,000 packs per hour and once this latest expansion is complete, the site will have the capacity to produce up to 45,000 cartons of one litre UHT products every hour.
According to Fonterra’s Robert Spurway, the expansion at the plant is being driven by the co-operative’s consumer and foodservice business keeping pace with the ongoing demand for NZ dairy.
“Exports of UHT cream in particular have grown rapidly – more than doubling in the past two seasons,” said Spurway, Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Global Operations.
“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.”
Once complete this new line will bring the site’s total processing capacity to more than 250 million litres of UHT cream and milk per year.