Waikato's newest milk processing plant is on track to start operating in July next year.
The company has made two key appointments: operations director Paul Rennie joins from Tasti Products and general manager milk supply Paul Johnson joins from Fonterra.
OFI is now taking expressions of interest from potential farmer suppliers, employees, contractors, and general trade suppliers.
OFI dairy senior vice president Naval Sabri says the two appointments are important roles for the new investment, enabling OFI to connect with the rural community, especially farmers interested in partnering with the company.
He says both men have deep experience in the dairy and food industries.
OFI ranks among the top three dairy suppliers in the world. The Tokoroa plant will become part a global network that spans 20 major milk consumption markets, such as South-East Asia, China, the Middle East, and Africa.
The Singapore-based conglomerate is no stranger to the NZ dairy industry. Until recently it held a cornerstone stake in NZ's second largest milk processor, Open Country Dairy. It is also a major buyer of dairy products from Fonterra and other processors.
“We have enjoyed a long and successful history in New Zealand through our previous investment in Open Country Dairy and we are pleased to be deepening our presence and relationships,” says Sabri.
“Our Tokoroa facility will open up more supply options for farmers in South Waikato, and employment opportunities in the community.”
OFI looks after its parent company Olam’s cocoa, coffee, nuts, spices and dairy businesses with operations across America, Africa, Europe and Asia, with a network of 15,000 employees, operational in 48 countries, sourcing directly and indirectly from 2.6 million farmer suppliers globally and operating over 100 manufacturing plants.
Sabri says the new plant will complement and enhance its ability to support global customers meet growing consumer demand for products that are natural, nutritious and delicious.
“It will also help address their innovation, traceability, and sustainable sourcing requirements as New Zealand’s farming standards and high-quality milk are very well regarded.”
The first stage of the new investment, expected to be commissioned in late 2023 in time for peak season, will involve the construction of a spray dryer facility capable of producing high-value dairy ingredient products. Additional facilities will be added over time to expand the range targeting key customer applications in desserts, bakery, beverages, and confectionery categories.