Fonterra's research and development boss says it needs to be smarter and faster in science and technology to keep ahead of larger competitors such as Nestle.
Jeremy Hill told the Primary Industry Forum in Wellington this week it can do that by collaborating with other researchers in New Zealand and overseas.
Fonterra and Dairy NZ have received government Primary Growth Partnership funding to transform the dairy value chain.
Dr Hill says one way it is doing that is by developing novel manufacturing processes to create new products that include ready to use mozzarella and natural sliced cheese made in less than a day.
He says the economic benefits of being able to do that without having to store and mature the cheese for up to six months are significant.