Fonterra opened a new state-of-the-art beverage plant in Australia, which expands its Cobden plant, home of Western Star butter, and created around 50 new jobs.

The new multi-million dollar plant will provide Woolworths Select milk across Victoria, Australia, for the next 10 years.

“Fresh milk is at the heart of dairy, and the opening of our fresh milk beverages plant is a key milestone that delivers on our strategy, which is about making sure our nutritious dairy foods are on the kitchen table of all Australians and export markets,” says Judith Swales, Fonterra Australia managing director. “Australia is a strategic market for Fonterra, and our Australian milk pool is the co-op’s largest milk pool outside of New Zealand. Combined, this makes us the largest dairy exporter in the world. Our Cobden plant is the cornerstone site for our Australian operations.”

“The state-of-art plant will process and deliver around 115,000 bottles of fresh milk for Woolworths’ Victorian customers every day. Importantly, we’re processing our milk close to the source, which means it gets from the farm gate to our factory to Victorians’ fridges sooner and fresher,” adds Swales.

The plant features highly automated processing, such as 1-way packaging utilizing lightweight bottle technology, negating the need for milk crates across the supply chain. Benefits of this model include reduced carbon footprint, negating reverse logistics, increasing the percentage of recyclable materials and improving water management through the new delivery system vs. traditional crate management.

“These flow on effects and efficiencies mean the partnership is win-win-win; a win for Woolworths, a win for Fonterra, and most importantly, a win for our farmers,” says Swales.

“Woolworths is delighted that as a result of this contract Fonterra has the confidence to make a major investment in Victoria, which benefits not just the industry but also our customers,” says Ewan Shearer, Woolworths merchandise manager – chilled.  “The new plant will deliver customer benefits like packaging innovations, including induction seals that ultimately mean a better product on the supermarket shelf and in the fridge at home.”