Mengniu Dairy opt out of Lion deal

Beverage giant Lion and China-based Mengniu Dairy have agreed to part ways on the $600 million deal that was supposed to have the Chinese company take over brands such as Pura milk, Dare iced coffee and Yoplait yoghurt.

The sale was abandoned after federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg made it clear that the Foreign Review Board was unlikely to approve of the sale. “contrary to the national interest”.

The sale was announced last November, but soon caught the eye of government regulators, who Frydenberg said and found that the sale was contrary to national interests.

It comes on the back of several similar issues including China imposing tariffs on Australian barley, and starting an investigation of alleged dumping cheap Australian wine onto the Chinese market.

Lion realeased a statement stating the deal was no longer viable.

“Lion notes that China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited has been awaiting the outcome of the Foreign Investment Review Board review of its proposed purchase of Lion Dairy & Drinks,” the statement said.

“Given this approval is unlikely to be forthcoming at this time, Lion and Mengniu Dairy have mutually agreed to cease the current sale process.

“We are disappointed with this outcome and will now consider pathways forward in relation to the Lion Dairy & Drinks business.”

High-protein yoghurt market set to grow

The global high protein yoghurt market is stipulated to surpass $98 billion by the end of 2030 according to a recent report from Future Market Insights for the period 2020 and 2030. Over the span of 10 years the demand would show a growth at a CAGR of over 8 per cent.

According to the study, growing demand for protein consumption is expected to accelerate market growth. The study offered a detailed analysis of the industry, covering key drivers of growth, opportunities, restraints and dominant trends.

The study delved into the prevailing dynamics to offer interesting insights into the high-protein yoghurt market. Some of these are:

  • In 2020, the estimated market value for high-protein yoghurt is $45bn. The market is expected to show growth over the forecast period.
  • APEJ, North America and Europe are primary markets for high-protein yoghurt and are anticipated to exhibit steady growth.
  • Conventional high-protein yoghurt holds a share of 84 per cent in the global high-protein yoghurt market.
  • Consumers are moving towards high-protein yoghurt owing to its various types of flavour options available in the market. Manufacturers are focusing on innovations and product launches to cater to the rising demand for the product
  • Store-based retailing has the largest market share, based on the sales channel, and is projected to rise at a promising rate over the forecast period.
  • Key players are likely to focus on business expansion and product launches to compete in the developed markets
  • The demand for high-protein yoghurt is expected to rise as consumers increasingly focus on health and fitness. High-protein yoghurt shows the intra-trend of complexity and investment that modern populations are making.

Various flavours to provide range of options to the buyers
Product innovation and development is a continuous process which has evolved the food industry over the decades. From several flavours available for high-protein yoghurt, most commonly available flavours under brand names include plain, strawberry, vanilla, raspberry, peach, chocolate, and blueberry. Additionally, there are certain unique flavours that are offered by various brands. As consumers always look for innovative flavours, therefore these products may provide range of option to the consumers and also beneficial for the manufacturers. The increasing flavour inspiration among the customers has raised the demand for vibrant flavours and more palatable products in the market, which has generated various new concepts in the yoghurt industry, high-protein yoghurt are gaining consumer’s attention with their nutritional value and vibrant flavour offerings by leading brands.

Who is winning?
As manufacturers seek to lessen the unpredictability caused by demand uncertainty and surging cost, they are aiming at higher control over the supply chain to aid organisational alertness and improve pace to market. Moreover, by focusing on building an organisation that is adequately flexible to prosper in today’s economy, manufactures are correspondingly keeping an eye on the bigger picture. Those operating in food and beverage industry are improving supply chain efficiencies thereby lowering operational costs to gain greater profits in highly competitive industry. The companies are also focused on new product launches and expansion of the company.

  • In 2018, General Mills launched its latest yoghurt YQ by Yoplait, which is a high protein and less sweet yoghurt made with ultra-filtered milk. Yoghurt is offered in plain and flavoured varieties. The flavoured variety includes lime, mango, strawberry, peach, blueberry, coconut, and vanilla which has 9gms of sugar and 15gms of protein.
  • In 2016, Chobani expanded its manufacturing facility in Twin Falls, Idaho, which helped the company to grow in the state. The company invested nearly $140 million in incremental investment to fuel momentum as the company continued to grow the category and push it into new areas. This move helped the company to meet demand for new and existing products.
  • In 2017, GROUPE DANONE, acquired WhiteWave, which was a strategic move towards plant-based food and drinks, helping it to meet consumer expectations for healthier and sustainable choices. This acquisition enhanced the product portfolio with a health-focused and consumer-loved brand option.

Yoplait number one in yoghurt

Yoghurt brand, Yoplait, is the number one yoghurt brand in Australia, according to the latest IRI Scan weekly data for week ending 10 May 20201.

According to IRI shopper panel data from the first quarter of 20202, 20.8 per cent of all households (or approximately 2.04 million households) opt for Yoplait (up by 1.8 pts same time last year). This equates to 11.9 per cent value share of the dairy yoghurt category.

The new data shows that Yoplait is the leading brand in the category, holding 11.9 per cent value share of the dairy yoghurt category as of scan data week of 10 May 2020.

With the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions and periods of home isolation, families have been required to juggle more than ever before. From adapting to working from home, to facilitating at home learning with children, grocery buyers have been on the lookout for no-fuss, value for money solutions in the home.

In response, the market has seen a steep shift from impulse, single serve formats to bigger pack sizes such as bulk tubs and multipacks. Buyers are choosing the Yoplait brand, for a healthy, conveniently sized, wholesome snack solution with the added bonus of real fruit pieces, stirred through for added goodness and taste.

Lion Dairy & Drinks marketing and innovation director, Darryn Wallace, said he was humbled to see the enduring popularity of the Yoplait range.

“In these times of crisis, we’ve seen a shift in customers moving to known and trusted brands like Yoplait. We’re incredible proud to hold pride of place as the nation’s number
one yoghurt brand, and look forward to offering great value for many years to come,” he said.

Yoplait is manufactured in Gippsland Victoria.

Plant-based protein worth $25 billion by 2030

Plant-based protein, foods for health and wellbeing, premium products and other emerging food trends could be worth $25 billion by 2030, new analysis by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO predicts.

Economists in CSIRO’s strategic advisory arm, CSIRO Futures, have released an economic valuation of the full range of opportunities identified in the 2017 CSIRO Food and Agribusiness Roadmap.

Their report is being launched on Wednesday 4th September at the ‘Global Table’ event in Melbourne.

Senior Economic Advisor at CSIRO Futures, Dr Katherine Wynn, said that if Australia harnessed these opportunities, the food and agribusiness sector could successfully become a growth orientated, de-commoditised, value-adding and differentiated sector.

“Achieving this growth will depend on continued innovation and investment by all players in the food industry,” Wynn said.

“As consumer demand for healthy foods and foods with added health benefits increases, foods such as enriched yoghurt and fortified breakfast cereals are likely to claim a larger chunk of the $25 billion pie.”

READ MORE: Burcon to build $70 million pea and canola protein production plant

Global consumer trends for sustainable, ethical and healthy food products combined with growing demand from export markets buying into Australia’s reputation for clean and green products are driving this growth.

Wynn, whose team drew on extensive research, consultations and economic analysis, said the health and wellness, sustainable solutions, and premium segments will see higher growth (3.6 per cent per annum, in real terms) compared to the food and agribusiness industry as a whole (2.4 per cent per annum).

The goal to grow our share of emerging food markets complements the National Farmers’ Federation strategic target to reach $100 billion by 2030, with a growth rate of approximately four per cent per annum expected in farm gate output.

Key opportunities fuelling this growth include the meat alternatives market – such as plant proteins and insect-based ingredients – as well as demand from export markets with large vegetarian populations such as India. The meat alternatives market also has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use.

The research also shows that consumers are more willing to pay a premium for sustainable brands which could see greater economic as well as environmental benefits.

World vegan yoghurt market to exceed $12 billion over next decade

The vegan yoghurt market is expected to continue its bullish run, driven by a combination of macroeconomic and industry-specific factors. Gains have been driven by vegan yoghurt’s availability in a variety of flavours, and the ubiquitous health and wellness trend. These factors helped vegan yoghurt sales increase by over 30,000 metric tons in 2018 over 2017, according to recent analysis by Fact.MR.

The study opines that almond yoghurt remains the bestseller, accounting for more than half of total vegan yoghurt sales in 2018. The trend is expected to prevail as vegan yoghurt companies continue to introduce new almond-milk based yoghurt products to meet consumers’ taste preferences while enhancing the vegan yoghurt’s nutritional value.

The adoption of veganism by famous celebrities and athletes has also added to the cause. Coupled with the endorsement from renowned health institutions and its potential cancer-preventing benefits, vegan products have garnered widespread popularity around the globe.

The study finds that over 80 per cent of vegan yoghurt is consumed in households. Further, the compact packaging of vegan yoghurt allows the consumer to eat it on-the-go, making it an attractive snacking option for busy consumers.

The use of vegan products in food chains and restaurants is gradually gaining traction; the study found moderate growth in the utilisation of vegan yoghurt and products in the food service industry. Although households dominate overall consumption, demand for vegan yoghurt from households and HORECA is growing at comparable rates.

Companies in the food processing and production industry are looking to capitalise on the ‘mindful choices’ trend. On account of the popularity of the trend, multiple small and large companies are launching new vegan products to consolidate their position. The fierce competition induced in the market as a result of the growing demand for vegan products is expected to lower pricing and encourage innovations in the field.

Numerous researches have linked health risks with the consumption of dairy products in the recent past. Increasing awareness about the potential side effects of dairy products is inducing a shift towards vegan products. This is also providing an impetus to the growth of vegan yoghurt market. The opportunities emerging in this sector are not lost on F&B companies who are introducing more vegan products to capitalise on the situation.

Vegan yoghurts utilise soy, almond, coconut or other plant-based milk for production. These ingredients are easily available, saving processors the volatilities associated with other ingredients. Moreover, the use of plant-based milk for the production of yoghurt does not entail the rearing of cattle which has led to a lot of controversies in recent times.

The study opines that the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) will remain the largest market for vegan yoghurt globally. The APEJ market is likely to reach almost $5 billion in revenues by 2019-end. Asia Pacific is home to some of the most populous countries on the planet and the evolving consumer needs and preferences promise formidable growth prospects in the region.

Raglan Yoghurt lands in Aus

The bestselling coconut yoghurt range in New Zealand produced by Raglan Coconut Yoghurt company has made its way across the ditch and landed in Australia.

Probiotic, dairy-free yoghurt packed with coconut goodness, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt products are sold from the tip of New Zealnd’s North Island to the bottom on the South Island, and everywhere in-between as well as in Singapore and Rarotonga with over 500 stockists.

The coconuts are sourced from Sumatra, Indonesia where they’re grown organically, with no fertilisers, sprays or pesticides used, and sourced from local growers all around the area. With Raglan Coconut Yoghurt’s current annual production, they’re supporting 8,000 coconut trees; which capture over 2,500 tonnes of CO2 every year. The business supports the local community in many ways, and they’ve recently become Raglan’s first certified Living Wage employer.

The co-founders are passionate about helping not only their community but also the world with various projects. They have sponsored 14 bee-hives for families, planted over 2,000 trees along polluted streams, raised funds for the homeless in a CEO sleep out and have a goal to pick up 1 million pieces of rubbish off New Zealand & Australia’s beaches.

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt has a large variety of flavours, with all the favourites covered but also some innovative flavours to try like the popular Banana & Chai, Mango & Turmeric and Strawberry & Acai.

Competition is a little tougher in Australia with some established brands already in the market but Raglan Coconut Yoghurt co-founder, Latesha Randall (AKA Mrs Coconut), is confident the products will outperform any of the brands on the market here. “Everyone we speak to and taste test with knows the difference in our yoghurt. It has that true yoghurt-like texture that many coconut yoghurts are missing. We can’t wait to share our products with Australia,” she said.

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt is currently available in Harris Farm, Scoop Wholefoods, Mrs Watson’s, as well as other retail outlets.

Danone Murray Goulburn launches high protein yoghurt

Danone Murray Goulburn has launched Yopro, an Australian high protein yoghurt with 15g of protein, no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners and less than 0.5 per cent fat.

Made in Kiewa Valley, Victoria with milk from Australian farmers, the yoghurt uses a traditional straining process to make a naturally thick and creamy yoghurt with over three times the protein of regular yoghurts. More than three cups of fresh milk are strained to make just one cup of the yoghurt, making the most of the goodness of natural milk proteins.

the yoghurt contains no added sugar, instead using the natural sweetness of fruit and stevia to create a deliciously healthy tub of yoghurt. YoPRO is made with all natural ingredients and does not contain any preservatives or gelatin, artificial sweeteners, colours or flavours.

“YoPRO is targeting millennials with an active lifestyle, who do not really engage with the yoghurt category today, often too sweet and not filling enough,’’ said Francois Rillet, General Manager of Danone Murray Goulburn Australia.

‘’YoPRO has a great potential in Australia, with really unique macronutrients – 15g protein, no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners and less than 0.5 per cent fat.”

Monash Uni, Chobani launch $3 million food incubator facility

Monash University has launched a $3 million incubation facility as part of its Food Innovation Centre.

Maker of Greek yoghurt, Chobani, is the first client to use the state-of-the-art facility.

The Incubator comprises three, high tech, serviced industrial kitchens, a food grade scale-up lab and a collaborative lounge.

Gabrielle Williams MP and Chobani Founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, attended the official opening today in the Food Innovation Centre at Monash’s Clayton campus.

The new Incubator is part of Monash’s Food Innovation Centre whose aim is to accelerate innovation in Australia’s food industry, by providing companies – from start-ups to large corporates – with unrivalled technological innovation, product development services and research capabilities, to help them export more rapidly into target markets including Asia.

Chobani will partner with the Food Innovation Centre, utilising the new facility to run a bespoke incubator program for early stage companies in a bid to challenge more established businesses. The program will span four months and each participating start-up will receive a $10,000 grant.

Monash Deputy Vice-Chancellor Enterprise, Ken Sloan, said the new Incubator was another example of Monash combining research excellence with industry need:

“When we bring the needs of industry and society together with the research expertise and state-of- the-art infrastructure of the University, amazing things can happen,” Mr Sloan said.

“The new Incubator is a fantastic example of how a collaboration involving Monash, the Victorian Government and the food and agriculture industries can bring real time innovation in such vital sectors, both for Australia and internationally.”

Monash Director of Food and Agriculture, Professor Nicolas Georges (pictured), said the Incubator was increasingly attractive to food producers and manufacturers seeking competitive market advantages through innovation.

“The Food and Agriculture Innovation Initiative with Monash’s new Incubator positions the University as a leading ecosystem of innovation for the future of food and agriculture,” Professor Georges said.

“It is a huge benefit for the food sector and the state of Victoria as it becomes a hub for the food industry entrepreneurs to connect and develop the foods of the future.”

Gabrielle Williams MP said the establishment of the Monash Food Incubator is a major milestone of the Victorian Government-funded Food Innovation Centre.

“Victoria is the food and fibre hub of our nation and the State Government congratulates Monash University on its further investment in the Monash Food Incubator where local businesses can further develop new capabilities and the next generation of products,” Gabrielle Williams said.

Chobani Founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, said: “There’s never been a better time to be a food entrepreneur—in Australia or around the world. Natural food start-ups with the right mindset can change categories, challenge the big guys and make a big difference in their communities. I love what’s happening with food start-ups here in Australia and want to share we’ve learned when it comes to scaling and fighting convention, like we’ve done with our other incubator programs. This is a no-strings-attached, grant-based program to support entrepreneurs so we can further fuel the food revolution.”

Professor Georges said that while there are other food incubators around the world, the end-to-end support systems available through Monash’s cross-disciplinary scale of research expertise and research infrastructure was unique.

“We know nine out of ten new food products in the fast-moving consumer goods segment fail,” Professor Georges said.

“By using Monash facilities and expertise, businesses can triple or quadruple their likely success rate and, at the very least, avoid expensive mistakes by identifying problems earlier rather than later,” Professor Georges said.

The $3 million Incubator was co-designed by Monash stakeholders and external partners including Mariljohn and DesignInc. It anchors the specialised start-up support expertise of partners Rocket Seeder, My Other Kitchen, NEIS Holmesglen, Badalya and Monash’s Food Innovation Centre.

Yummia Yoghurts unveils new recipe

Yummia has unveiled its newly improved product recipe for its Yoghurts, just in time for its move into the dairy section of Woolworths stores nationally, this month.

Continuing its leading legacy in the FMCG industry, Yummia’s innovative Yoghurt is the first of its kind, with its unique combination of fruit and vegetables in a yoghurt. Providing consumers an easy, healthy, on-the-go snack, the Yummia Yoghurts are challenging the norm with their clever blend of ingredients.

“The Yummia Yoghurt recipe has been slightly enhanced to ensure each tub is packed full with as much delicious goodness as possible. Our move into the Dairy section from Grab n Go in Woolworths will bolster the brand and secure its place as a leading product in the Yoghurt category,” said Founder and Owner of Yummia, Mia McCarthy.

Using thick strained premium Australian yoghurt, Yummia Yoghurts are a natural source of calcium and protein, with each 150g tub containing 10g of protein. The Yoghurts are available in two flavours, Strawberry & Beetroot and Apple & Carrot. The products can be enjoyed on their own, in smoothies or accompanied with fruits, nuts and cereals.





New locally made milk brand for SA

A new South Australian milk brand released over the weekend is sourced only from two local dairy farms and available only through locally owned retailers and food service outlets.

Adelaide Now reports that South Australians can purchase the ‘Adelaide Hills Dairies’ brand through Foodland and IGA stores as well as some independent shops, and cafes and restaurants. The products will be made at at B.-d Farm Paris Creek’s processing facility in the Adelaide Hills

According to Ulli Spranz, managing director of both Adelaide Hills Dairies and B.-d. Farm Paris Creek, there are plans to also begin selling yoghurts and cottage-cheeses carrying the Adelaide Hills Dairies brand later this year.

“Consumers can be absolutely assured that by supporting this brand… they will also be supporting an important part of the South Australian economy, while enjoying premium local dairy products,” Spranz told Adelaide Now.

In February the South Australian Government granted B.-d. Farm Paris Creek a $900,000 Regional Development Fund grant to support the company’s $6.5 million into its Meadows-based operation.

The project will place the company among only a handful of producers in Australia capable of ESL fresh milk production.

Ishida X-ray technology helps to ensure Greek yogurt quality

A leading yogurt producer in northern Greece relies on the accuracy, versatility and reliability of an Ishida IX-GA-65100 X-ray inspection system to deliver the highest levels of quality control and achieve continuing success in both national and international markets.

Established in 1954 by George Tsinavos in Serres, Macedonia to produce ice cream and other dairy products, Kri Kri has grown over the decades with a full-fledged factory set up in 1987 and an expanded product range including yogurt introduced subsequently. Using milk sourced locally, Kri Kri is able to process and pack its yogurt within 24 hours, requiring just one pasteurisation process.

The Ishida X-ray system forms part of Kri Kri’s in-house stringent quality control procedures and also enables the company to meet the strict requirements of its customers. While the advanced production processes incorporate the highest hygiene levels, it is vital that Kri Kri remains vigilant against potential foreign bodies such as metal, glass or any foreign material that could contaminate the yogurt.

Kri Kri’s extensive product range of plain and fruit yogurts, traditional varieties and a children’s range is packed in pots of various sizes from 150g to 500g. The pots are first filled and then packed into cases before inspection in the Ishida X-ray machine. To accommodate complete cases, the company has opted for the Ishida IX-GA-65100, which is specially designed for larger products.

Ease of use and flexibility are the two major advantages of the Ishida X-ray system for Kri Kri since the broad range of product types and pack sizes typically requires up to four changeovers in each eight-hour shift.

Some of the features include a user-friendly colour touchscreen enabling specifications for each product to be stored in the memory and called up at the touch of a button for fast and simple changeovers; different levels of security in the touchscreen ensuring only designated and trained operators can make adjustments or change settings; and excellent versatility in sensitivity and levels of detection.

The unique Genetic Algorithm (GA) technology uses image data analysis over a number of inspections to achieve an extremely high level of inspection accuracy. This enables Kri Kri to ‘train’ the machine to focus solely on the yogurt contents in each pot, and exclude any external areas. The machine is able to distinguish between the fruit pieces in the fruit yogurts and any unwanted contaminants, as well as mask the small chocolate pieces used as topping for children’s yogurts.

Traceability information provided by the Ishida X-ray inspection system ensures that in the event of any complaint, an image of the pack in question can be retrieved to establish beyond doubt if there was a problem with the contents.

Kri Kri is currently processing around 80-90 tonnes of yogurt per day, with the Ishida X-ray system monitoring approximately 12,000 to 14,000 cups per hour.

The reliability of the IX-GA-65100 has been exceptional with no breakdowns since its installation. The machine is also easy to clean as part of Kri Kri’s regular and strict hygiene procedures.

The Ishida X-ray inspection system is installed in Kri Kri’s new state-of-the-art production and packing line, which was set up following a fire on Christmas Eve 2013 that caused severe damage to its dairy production plant. Given the opportunity to specify the newest and best equipment for the new factory, Kri Kri turned to Ishida and its Greek agent Europack for its X-ray inspection solution.

Ishida equipment is available in Australia through Heat and Control.

Prolactal makes more out of organic milk at Biofach 2016

Prolactal inspires innovation with organic dairy foods.

Prolactal, part of the ICL Food Specialties business unit of ICL Coproration, is a leader in providing un-paralleled knowledge and expertise in the fractionation of organic milk and whey for use in a variety of dairy products.

Prolactal will display its organic protein expertise at the joint stand of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce at the upcoming Biofach trade show.

According to Global Lead of ICL Food Specialties, Rene Krebs, the organic dairy protein market continues to grow rapidly across the globe. There are few manufacturers that can reliabily supply these ingredients with organic quality.

"As a full-service provider using advance membrane filtration technology, Prolactal is getting the best out of organic milk," Krebs said.

Prolactal's core competency is delivering customized ingredient solutions in diverse applications and ever-changing market trends four our customers.

Prolactal leverages the benefits of a unqiue captive milk fractionation process separation organic milk and whey to deliver ground-breaking ingredient and protein solutions.

In 2015 Proactal became part of ICL Food Specialties bringing expanded ingredient systems and application expertise to the food and beverage industry.

The result is superior texture and stability solutions for organic and high-protein applications.

Functional  knowledge of protein behaviour allows for innovative ingredient systems that satisfy currently trending applications such as high protein organic yoghurts and beverages.

In addition, there is also an increasing demand for egg replacement solutions in organic vegetarian baked goods and mayonnaise.

Access to a global network of application specialists allows us to work in partnership with customers to find the right solution for each application.

Prolactal's new line of organic proteins is free from additives or coloring, making it suitable for further processing in certified organic products.

Prolactal holds an FSCC 22000 certificate, among many others, for its production of spray -and roller-dried milk and whey products. 

UPDATE: Fonterra offloads its Australian yoghurt business to Parmalat

Fonterra has announced it will sell its Australian yoghurt and dairy dessert business to Parmalat Australia.

The sale, which is conditional on regulatory and other approvals, is expected to be completed in the first half the of the 2016 calendar year.

The divestment of its Australian yoghurt and dairy desserts business, which includes manufacturing sites at Tamar Valley and Echuca as well as its Australian yoghurt and dairy dessert brands, is part of a comprehensive plan to return the Australian business to strong and sustainable profitability. 

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said these changes were the result of driving a clear strategic plan to transform the Australian business to deliver stronger returns to farmer shareholders and unit holders.

“We are focusing on areas where we can win in a highly competitive market, and that means optimising our product mix and streamlining operations to match, and investing in higher value add products that will deliver the best returns for our farmer shareholders and unit holders.”

“As a key part of our multi-hub strategy, we are matching these strengths with the opportunities across our 100 markets,” said Spierings.

Fonterra Managing Director Oceania Judith Swales said Fonterra is “totally committed to the Australian dairy industry”

“We will continue investing in programs and innovation that supports our market-leading brands in key retail categories, including Western Star butter and Perfect Italiano, Mainland and Bega cheeses, Anchor cream, and fresh milk.”

“Divesting the yoghurt and dairy desserts business will allow us to focus on what we do best, so we can continue delivering a competitive milk price to our suppliers, benefits to our customers, innovative dairy foods to our consumers, and improved returns to our farmer shareholders and unit holders,” concluded Ms Swales.

According to a Fonterra spokesperson, the decision to sell our Australian yoghurt and dairy dessert business is part of a comprehensive plan to return Fonterra’s Australian business to strong and sustainable profitability.

"The sale will allow us to focus on what we do best, and lock in our competitive position in the Australian market – we will focus on investing in the growth of our other market-leading brands, including Western Star, Perfect Italiano, Bega, and Mainland, and our recently launched Anchor brand."

"It’s no secret our yoghurt and dairy desserts business has been challenged in recent years," the spokesperson said."

"Our people have worked hard to improve the returns from our yoghurt and dairy dessert business, and their efforts have resulted in good performance from Tamar Valley and agreements achieved with key customers to drive volume and category growth. It is a sign of respect for their hard work that all employees at our Echuca and Tamar Valley plants have received offers of employment from Parmalat."

"This sale will have no impact to our Anchor or Riverina Fresh yoghurt, which we produce in foodservice format at our Wagga Wagga facility, nor will it impact our New Zealand yoghurt business."

Nestle study shows probiotics foods to assist the immune system

A new study published by Nestle in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has shown that heat-treated probiotics can act on cells to provide a balance for the immune system.

Probiotics are bacteria that are essential for human immune health, but they are mainly used in foods in a live form. Heat-treating probiotics remove the ability to replicate, a move which could help researchers develop more effective probiotic products such as infant formulas and drinks, with a longer shelf life.

The study explores how live and heat-treated forms of the probiotic affect immune cells through environmental factors.

Lead researcher Dr Carine Blanchard, from the Nestle Research Centre says a probiotic strain can deliver immunity benefits when heat-treated and existing in a neutral state.

“We tested several strains and actually when you heat treat stains for a lot of them the pro-inflammatory signalling goes down…and IL-10 production increases so they move toward a more immune-regulatory profile, so you can change the way probiotic influences the immune system,” Blanchard said.

Researchers found that both forms of the probiotic led to a greater production of interleukin-10 (IL-10), a protein that is vital for immune health in humans, but that the heat-treated probiotic was more effective. 

First cheese rolls off the line at Fonterra’s Eltham plant

The expansion of Fonterra’s Eltham site has reached a key milestone, with the first individually wrapped slices of cheese now coming off its new production line destined for supermarket shelves around the globe. 

The new line is part of a $AUD32 million project to bolster the site’s cheese capability, doubling the amount of the world-renowned sliced cheese that can be produced at the Taranaki-based site.
Director of New Zealand Manufacturing, Mark Leslie says Fonterra is constantly looking at trends in key markets and working with customers to help meet their growth with investment.
“One of the most exciting things about our consumer and foodservice expansions is they’re almost entirely demand-led, meaning from the moment the first product comes off the line it’s already earmarked for customers in one of more than 100 markets around the world,” he said.
Leslie says these expansions also diversify 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 comprises both individually wrapped slices and slice-on-slice cheese that is used in restaurants and fast food outlets, and is 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,” said Leslie. 
“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.”
Site Manager Brendon Birss said the team is excited to reach such an important milestone in the project.
“A lot of work has gone into completing the first phase of the expansion. 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,” said Birss.
The second stage of the expansion is due for completion in February next year with the new sliced cheese line closing out the project.

Fonterra says it has delivered huge value to farmers

Fonterra Farm Source has delivered millions in value to more than 9,000 Fonterra farmers since it was launched in Methven a year ago.

 Director Farm Source Stores Jason Minkhorst said farmers have already earned 5.7 million in Reward Dollars through Fonterra Farm Source, which is on track to deliver $AUD14 million in discounts on key products by the end of this year.
“Fonterra Farm Source was created to make the most of the unity and strength of our Co-operative and provide a whole new level of support for our farmers. We’ve combined services, expertise, rewards, digital technology and financial options together with local Farm Source hubs to support the major dairying regions throughout the country,” Minkhorst said.
Since its launch, Fonterra Farm Source has introduced:
·         Seven new Heads of Co-operative Affairs leading regional teams, providing better on-the-ground support to farmers
·         Farm Source Stores, or Hubs, within the regions with a new level of services, deals and facilities
·         A rewards programme that offers exclusive deals for Fonterra farmers
·         Discounts creating significant savings for farmers on fuel, phone, power, telecoms and more
·         Tools and services to help farmers manage the financial side of their businesses 
·         A digital platform providing access to key farming information, advice, support, products, deals and rewards online, on mobile, on demand.
Minkhorst said the numbers show that Fonterra Farm Source is well placed to support farmers through unprecedented market volatility.
“Our stores have maintained very good performance in a tough environment, increasing our market share significantly.
“While global volatility has affected both our Milk Price and earnings, we have been able to introduce initiatives to support the Co-op’s farmers through this period.”
Minkhorst said in addition to the value delivered through discounts and rewards, more than 6,000 farmers have benefited from Farm Source Store interest-free deferred terms, and 75 per cent of shareholders applied for the 50-cent Co-operative Support loan.
“These initiatives give us a real point of difference and show the strength of being part of the Co-operative.”