Australian mozzarella to take a bigger slice of China's boom


Mozzarella made at Fonterra’s Stanhope cheese plant in Northern Victoria 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 is rolling off the line as Fonterra’s new cheese plant in 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 says it’s a significant step for our Australian business to resume making mozzarella for the domestic and export market, particularly China where there is strong demand for our cheese.

“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. 

“In China, the growth in Western-style foodservice 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,” says René.

Jared and Courtney Ireland run a 450-cow dairy farm in the rural town of Lockington in Northern Victoria. Their fresh milk is supplied to Fonterra’s Stanhope plant and will be used to make mozzarella destined for China.  

Jared says he’s proud to know their farm’s high-quality milk is making its way into higher value products like mozzarella for the food service industry in China.

“My family loves eating pizza with its stretchy mozzarella. 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,” says Jared.

Forty percent of people in urban China now eat at Western-style fast food outlets once a week, and the use of dairy in foodservice has grown by over 30 percent in just five years.

“As disposable incomes rise in China, spending on dining out is growing, and pizza is a very popular menu choice. They want the extra stretch, softness and flavour of our mozzarella made with high-quality Australian milk,” says René.

“This supports our strategy to be Fonterra’s global ingredients hub for cheese, whey and nutritionals, complementing our consumer and foodservice businesses.

“This helps us move our farmers’ milk up the value chain into higher-value dairy products, which means sustainable returns for everyone in the supply chain, starting at the farm gate,” says René.