14 Sep 2021

OFI to build Tokoroa dairy plant for desserts, beverages, baked goods

5:43 pm on 14 September 2021

An overseas food ingredients company is planning to build a dairy processing plant in Tokoroa in south Waikato.

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Singapore-based Olam Foods International (OFI) said the plant would create 50 to 60 full time jobs when fully operational.

OFI expected the first stage of the new investment would be completed in the Spring of 2023. This would involve the construction of a spray dryer facility, capable of producing high-value dairy ingredient products.

OFI has dairy operations in Russia, Uruguay and Malaysia and also grows and sources cocoa, coffee, nuts and spices from other countries.

OFI senior vice president of dairy, Naval Sabri, said New Zealand's farming standards and milk quality were well regarded and the venture would help it meet growing consumer demands.

"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 yogurts, protein bars and ready-to-drink tea, coffee and cocoa beverages."

Sabri said additional facilities would be added to the plant over time to expand the range targeting key customer applications in desserts, bakery, beverages, and confectionery categories. More jobs were expected to be created in future stages of the development.

Sabri at the moment it was seeking farmers suppliers within a 100km radius of the plant and was confident it would be able to source the milk it needed.

"Before we really went ahead with this investment, we engaged with farmers in the vicinity. We took their feedback ... only once we realised that we have something which is competitive... we got the comfort to announce this investment."

Olam previously owned a stake in Open Country Dairy, which is New Zealand's second largest milk processor. Sabri said it was pleased to be deepening its presence in New Zealand.

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