Mozzarella sales short of forecast

Fonterra's Clandeboye plant. Photos: Chris Tobin
Fonterra's Clandeboye plant. Photos: Chris Tobin
Fonterra admits to getting its initial forecast wrong regarding output from a new multimillion-dollar mozzarella cheese plant at Clandeboye near Temuka.

''The demand for our mozzarella is continuing to grow. However, it is not as high as we initially forecast,'' general manager operations Clandeboye and Studholme, Steve McKnight said.

The company stated recently ''Mozz 3'' as the plant is called, had been running at just 25% capacity since June 1, the start of the milk season, due to lower-than-expected demand.

The Central Rural Life asked what the expected level of demand had been but Fonterra did not respond to this question nor to another question as to what it expected the level of demand would be in 12 months.

''We're expecting more demand to come on line from quick service restaurants in the next six months,'' Mr McKnight said.

A stretch test of mozzarella cheese is made at Fonterra Clandeboye. Photos: Chris Tobin
A stretch test of mozzarella cheese is made at Fonterra Clandeboye. Photos: Chris Tobin
''This being said, without the third plant we would have been supply constrained and missing out on highly profitable sales.

''With our mozzarella we're demand-led, meaning we don't make the product before we have the orders, so there are no stockpiles.

''Our sales teams are continually looking at new markets in a variety of places around the world.''

An extra 100 staff were employed at the Clandeboye site for Mozz 3 and Mr McKnight said there had been no significant change.

''It's important to keep perspective. We have 11 plants at the site and this gives us a certain amount of flex for people to move around, as some plants are busier than others at different times of the season.''

Fonterra opened its third mozzarella production line at Clandeboye in September last year, the final stage in a two-year-long project which cost $240million.

Predictions then were that it would soon be producing enough mozzarella to top half a billion pizzas in a year.

Fonterra chief operating officer global operations Robert Spurway said at the time the new plant was a great example of its focus ''on getting more value from every drop of our farmers' milk''.

Fonterra general manager marketing global foodservice Susan Cassidy said the global foodservice market was predicted to be worth $US3trillion by 2021.

''Our foodservice business, Anchor Food Professionals, is still experiencing strong growth and this new expansion supports our growth.''

Fonterra reported a net loss after tax of $605 million in the latest financial year.

-By Chris Tobin

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