Fonterra has constructed a new cream cheese production plant in Canterbury as it continues to target growth in China. Its estimated that the New Zealand facility would produce more than 24,000 metric tonnes of cream cheese annually to be exported to China.

Fonterra has said that the company is responding to increased Chinese consumer interest for more Western foods, with China predicted to surpass the US as the world largest dairy importer by 2022.

The opening of the facility follows the announcement from the co-operative that it planned to construct two new cream cheese plants at the Darfield site with the 150 million dollar investment.

“People in China want natural dairy products they can trust in their baked goods. That’s great for Fonterra and New Zealand,” said Susan Cassidy, general marketing manager for global foodservice at Fonterra.

Robert Spurway, Fonterra COO of global operations said that “Today, one in four litres of milk from New Zealand is sold to China – that’s the equivalent of 3.4 billion litres a year.”

“The new plant will enable us to convert more milk to high-value cream cheese, which is in popular demand. We’re proud of our technology which alters the firmness and consistency of cream cheese according to customer preference. It’s a technology first and a huge competitive advantage,” added Spurway.

Fonterra food service business, Anchor Food Professionals, is currently worth more than $2 billion.