Mozzarella made at Fonterra’s Stanhope cheese plant will soon be topping pizzas at restaurants in China, as Fonterra’s Australian business moves to take a bigger slice of pizza’s popularity in the Asian nation.
The first mozzarella rolling off the line at Stanhope is being commissioned in readiness to start global production in the coming months, bringing Fonterra’s mozzarella production back to Australia for the first time since 2013.
Fonterra Australia’s managing director René Dedoncker said resuming the making of mozzarella for the domestic and export market, particularly China where there was strong demand for Australian-made cheese, was a significant step for the company.
‘‘New Zealand-made Fonterra cheese is already topping more than half the pizzas made in China and now we will be sending our Australian-made mozzarella as our customers just can’t get enough of it,’’ Mr Dedoncker said.
‘‘In China, the growth in Western-style food service outlets has meant more opportunities for Chinese people to try cheese and many are developing a taste for it, particularly on pizza. The market potential is enormous.’’
One of Fonterra’s suppliers, Jared and Courtney Ireland, run a 450-cow dairy farm in Lockington and their fresh milk will be used to make some of the mozzarella destined for China.
Mr Ireland said he was proud to know his farm’s milk was making its way into higher-value products, such as mozzarella, for the food service industry in China.
‘‘My family loves eating pizza with its stretchy mozzarella,’’ Mr Ireland said.
‘‘Knowing where our milk goes, we can tell our children that our farm’s milk goes into making mozzarella to top pizzas for families to enjoy in China.
‘‘With Stanhope’s new cheese plant coming online, positive news like this gives us confidence in a strong, sustainable future for dairy in Australia.’’