The small aging plant processes about 0.25% of the Co-operative’s overall milk supply into whole milk powder. Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Fraser Whineray says the move, which will instead see the milk being processed at Fonterra’s Darfield site, is in line with Fonterra’s long-term strategy.
“We know milk supply is declining over time, flat at best, so we need to make sure we’re getting the most out of every drop of milk and optimising our plants to match both consumer demand and available milk supply.
“Part of our long-term strategy is to direct more milk into our Foodservice and Consumer business, less into Ingredients, and in some cases, to divert product away from the Global Dairy Trade auctions. This, along with forecast capital and maintenance costs, means we’ve made the tough decision to close our milk powder plant at Brightwater.
“We’re continually working to ensure our assets across the country are as efficient as they can be, changing product mixes, and moving more milk into value-add products.”
Thirty employees will be impacted by the closure of the milk powder plant and Mr Whineray says the priority right now is supporting them.
“It’s no doubt tough news for some of the Brightwater team and we’ll be working with them in the coming months on their future options, including re-deployment opportunities within the Co-op.”
Mr Whineray says he’s proud of the quality and skills the 30 team members have and is confident they’ll be able to secure new roles.
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