Cheese slices come off new production line at Fonterra expansion

A multimillion-dollar expansion of Fonterra's slice-on-slice cheese operation in the Taranaki town of Eltham has reached a key milestone.
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As part of a $32 million project intended to boost the site’s cheese capabilities, the first individually wrapped slices of the dairy product are now coming off its new production line.
Construction to expand the slice-on-slice cheese operation began early this year and once completed was expected to increase capacity and improve processes to meet global demand.
Site manager Brendon Birss said the team was «excited» to reach such an important milestone in the project.
A lot of work had gone had gone into completing the first phase of the expansion, he said.
«Local builders and contractors have pulled out all the stops to get us up and running on schedule, and we’ve seen great results from the new lines in testing over the last few weeks.»
It was expected the second stage of the expansion would be completed by February next year.
«Our teams are now completely focused on the next few months, delivering against our timeline to bring the slice-on-slice lines on board with as little impact to our existing processing as possible,» he said.
Director New Zealand Manufacturing Mark Leslie said the expansion diversified the co-operative’s asset mix, giving Fonterra more choices in what it does with farmers’ milk and allowing more agility in meeting changes in customer demand.
Sliced cheese made at Eltham comprised both individually wrapped slices and slice-on-slice cheese that was used in restaurants and fast food outlets, such as Mcdonalds and Burger King and was one of the co-operative’s most in-demand consumer and foodservice products.
«It’s a product that really supports our V3 strategy, to deliver a greater volume of high value products, at velocity,» he said.
«Once completed, we’ll be able to make around 2.3 billion slices of cheese each year out of Eltham, all of it sold into growth markets in Australasia, Asia and the Middle East.»
Source: Stuff

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