Fonterra’s new site at Heerenveen in the Netherlands officially opened overnight, with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in attendance alongside Fonterra Chairman John Wilson and CEO Theo Spierings for the proceedings.
The King was given a tour of the site, talking with employees and seeing first-hand how the partnership between Fonterra and Dutch cheese manufacturer Royal A-ware works.
The 25-hectare site represents a significant investment and will give Fonterra cost-effective, reliable and continual access to high-quality whey and lactose, to use in manufacturing high-value paediatric, maternal and sports nutrition products.
Mr Spierings said the site was an integral part of Fonterra’s long-term strategy for building global milk pools.
“Our strategy is a good fit with A-ware’s long-term vision, so it’s a win-win for both companies and it’s great to see the partnership come to fruition,” Mr Spierings said.
“We have substantial intellectual property in manufacturing functional whey protein ingredients, and having a high-quality, high-volume source based in Europe will allow us to commercialise these innovations for our customers all over the world.”
Heerenveen consists of two plants side by side; A-ware’s plant produces cheese for its customers in Europe, while Fonterra’s plant processes the whey and lactose from A-ware’s plant, as by-products of the cheese-making process.
It is Fonterra’s first wholly owned and operated ingredients plant in Europe, processing one billion litres of milk each year, and producing 5,000 metric tonnes of whey protein and 25,000 metric tonnes of lactose annually.
The partnership increases Fonterra’s ability to access a globally traded whey protein and lactose market that was worth more than NZ $2.7 billion in 2014.
The picture shows from left: Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and Jan Anker of Royal A-ware Food Group