A new dairy processing plant planned for Tokoroa is expected to create 50 to 60 fulltime jobs.
Olam Food Ingredients (OFI), a global leader in natural and sustainable food ingredient solutions, on Tuesday confirmed plans to develop a new dairy processing facility in Tokoroa.
It is now taking expressions of interest from potential farmer suppliers, employees, contractors, and general trade suppliers.
OFI has made two senior New Zealand-based appointments to support the development: operations director Paul Rennie joins from Tasti Products Ltd, and general manager milk supply Paul Johnson comes over from Fonterra.
OFI dairy senior vice-president Naval Sabri said the appointments were important roles for the new investment, enabling OFI to connect with the rural community, especially farmers interested in partnering with OFI.
"We have enjoyed a long and successful history in New Zealand through our previous investment in Open Country Dairy and we are pleased to be deepening our presence and relationships," he said.
"Our Tokoroa facility will open up more supply options for farmers in South Waikato, and employment opportunities in the community."
The first stage of the new investment, expected to be commissioned in Q3 of 2023 in time for peak season, will involve the construction of a spray-dryer facility capable of producing high-value dairy ingredient products.
Other facilities will be added over time to expand the range targeting "key customer applications in desserts, bakery, beverages, and confectionery categories".
"The Tokoroa dairy ingredients will form part of OFI's much-wider natural ingredients portfolio, which includes cocoa, coffee, nuts and spices, ideal combinations with dairy for customised products such as yoghurts, protein bars and ready-to-drink tea, coffee and cocoa beverages," Sabri said.
"OFI has 14 innovation centres across the world, where our R&D teams will be excited to co-create new tastes and textures with our expanded range of dairy ingredients."
Operations director Paul Rennie said the new factory was expected to create 50 to 60 fulltime jobs in Tokoroa when fully operational, with more jobs likely in future stages of the development.
"We are looking forward to joining the Tokoroa community and sharing our strong focus on operating sustainably," he said.
"This will include maximising the use of renewable energy sources, waste minimisation, and building infrastructure to ensure we handle our waste in the most sustainable way possible."
South Waikato District Council welcomed the announcement.
Mayor Jenny Shattock said the council strived to "facilitate high-quality new investment that will create new jobs for local people and bring new residents with specialist skills."
"As part of our long-term plan, the council took the bold step of establishing an economic development team to attract new businesses, residents, and visitors alongside the South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT). Today's announcement shows this decision is paying dividends.
"Securing international investment is a major plank of our shared economic development strategy with SWIFT and we see this announcement as a huge success for the investments both organisations have made over the last three years in promoting the district as open for business and ensuring our staff support investors to create employment and wealth for our community."
OFI ranks among the top three dairy suppliers in the world. The Tokoroa plant will become part of a global network that spans 20 major milk consumption markets, such as South-East Asia, China, the Middle East, and Africa.