Food and beverage ingredients company Olam Food Ingredients [OFI], has opened its new dairy processing facility in Tokoroa.
OFI said the first stage of the factory contained a spray-dryer facility that would produce high-value milk powder ingredients.
The products made at the new Tokoroa site would be used for dessert, bakery, beverage, and confectionery products for export.
Strong interest from local dairy farmers had prompted a second phase of investments from OFI, that would see an expanded range of products.
Operations director Paul Rennie said the positive responses from the community and local farmers had been humbling.
“Right from the start, our approach has always been to listen to what farmers want in a milk supply partner so we could tailor our offer accordingly. They told us they want a business partner who brings them confidence, certainty and cash flow, and hands-on solutions to the everyday challenges they face.
“The enthusiastic response we’ve received from them tells us our partnership approach ... has struck a chord with them”, he said.
Managing director and chief executive of dairy, Sandeep Jain, said the opening of the plant was an important milestone.
“Opening our new plant in the heart of New Zealand’s dairy region allows us to meet growing demand from our global customer base for high quality, New Zealand-made dairy ingredients.
“The plant will become part of our global network that spans major milk consumption markets including South-East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, complementing our existing global footprint”, Jain said.
Rennie said the new plant was designed to maximise renewable energy use, minimise pollution and water use, and ensure waste was handled sustainably.
It included co-investment in advanced tools and technology to help farmers actively monitor their environmental impact and achieve on-farm emissions reductions.
“We will invest in a biomass boiler fuelled by wood residue sourced from local forests to power the factory, ensuring milk processing is energy efficient and with a low environmental impact, and treating wastewater from milk processing options will be repurposed in an onsite nursery to grow cost-price native plants to help out farmers with riparian planting”, Rennie said.
OFI also had an animal feed trial under way that would help dairy farmers replace costlier and more environmentally intensive feeds with a more sustainable alternative with an aim to re-purpose almond hulls and shells into a nutritious feed for dairy cows.
It was hoped the feed would help farmers cut methane emissions and lower their input costs while also helping to reduce waste in OFI’s almond business.
The new facility has created about 60 new jobs with more to come from the next stage of the investment.
Construction of OFI’s milk processing plant in Tokoroa, South Waikato, took two years and was completed in August.
OFI is a new operating group born out of Olam International. OFI produces other products like cocoa, coffee, nuts and spices.
OFI is headquartered in Singapore, supplying food, ingredients, feed and fibre to 20,900 customers worldwide.
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