12 Feb 2024

Chinese New Year boosts demand for New Zealand cream cheese

10:03 am on 12 February 2024
Cream cheese being pumped into boxes at Fonterra's factory in Darfield.

Cream cheese is pumped into boxes at Fonterra's factory in Darfield. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

Growing demand for cream cheese in China has seen Fonterra ramp up production at its Darfield site in Canterbury.

The cream cheese factory is forecast to export around 20,000 tonnes of cream cheese to China this season, and 1500MT to South East Asia.

Plant manager Matt Smith said exports were growing year-on-year and sales had really picked ahead of Chinese New Year.

"Due to the growing demand we've been able to increase production; the team recently made significant efficiency, quality, and yield improvements - to increase annual throughput by an additional 2100MT per year - all executed with zero capital spend."

Fonterra Darfield plant manager Matt Smith checking the cream cheese.

Fonterra Darfield plant manager Matt Smith checks the cream cheese. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

Smith said cream cheese was common in traditional Chinese pastries and was used in tea macchiatos, made using a base of Chinese tea, topped with a cap of cream and cream cheese that is whipped together until it forms a light and fluffy texture.

When drinking a tea macchiato, the goal is to sip the drink at a 45-degree angle to get the ideal mix of tea and creamy topping in each mouthful.

Boxes of cream cheese on production line at Fonterra Darfield.

Boxes of cream cheese are seen on the production line at Fonterra's Darfield site. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

Other popular items made using cream cheese included cheese lollipops and cheesecakes, Smith said.

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