Australian mozzarella to take a bigger slice of China's pizza 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.[1]

“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.

 

Key Facts:

Fonterra’s Australian mozzarella

  • Mozzarella will be made at Stanhope’s new cheese plant

  • Making mozzarella involves a three month process

  • Stanhope’s mozzarella will be made for Fonterra’s Australian consumer, foodservice and export markets

  • $140 million investment to rebuild and expand Fonterra’s Stanhope cheese plant in Northern Victoria

  • Our Stanhope cheese plant will open later in August 2017

Dairy in China

  • Mozzarella is the most popular variety of cheese, topping more than 80% of pizza in Australia, China, South East Asia and the Middle East[2]

  • Protein intake in China has climbed sharply and much faster than any other markets between 1980 and 2009[3]. Total protein per capita per day in 1980 was 54 grams, and by 2009 this had reached 94 grams a day, overtaking Japan.

  • Seventy-three per cent of Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium price for items proven to be healthier, such as dairy, which is 12 per cent above the worldwide average[4]

 

[1] Nielsen survey
[2] Cheese Market News, Dec 2016
[3] World Bank data
[4] Boston Consulting Group research