Timaru could be the pizza capital of New Zealand, as the region becomes the Southern Hemisphere's largest producer of natural mozzarella cheese.

Fonterra's Clandeboye site now produces enough of the revolutionary cheese to top more than half a billion pizzas a year, says Fonterra's Upper South Island Operations Manager Paul Green.

Green spoke to The Country Early Edition's Rowena Duncum about the new site and an "exciting week for the team at Clandeboye."

MP for Rangitata Andrew Falloon, Timaru Mayor Damon Odey, Process Operator Shannon Biggs, Process Operator Paula Eddy, Process Operator Pene Hammond and Cheese Plant Manager Chris Turner. Photo / Supplied
MP for Rangitata Andrew Falloon, Timaru Mayor Damon Odey, Process Operator Shannon Biggs, Process Operator Paula Eddy, Process Operator Pene Hammond and Cheese Plant Manager Chris Turner. Photo / Supplied

"The plant uses one of our secret recipes to make mozzarella in hours rather than months and we've just had close to 100 new team members join us from the region."

Listen below:

Fonterra cheese already tops around 50 per cent of the pizzas in China – one of the fastest growing pizza markets in the world.

Duncum asks if the Chinese market is the main driver for growth in Fonterra dairy products.

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"Chinese demand is a big factor. Our co-op's milk now supplies 11 per cent of China's total dairy consumption", says Green.

According to global research company Euromonitor, demand for Western food in China has helped pizza sales more than double from US$1.5 billion in 2010 to US$3.5 billion in 2015.

Also in today's interview: Paul Green talks about Anchor Food Professionals and what it means for New Zealand.