OFI, a global leader in natural and sustainable food ingredient solutions, today confirmed plans to develop a new dairy processing facility at Tokoroa. It is now taking expressions of interest from potential farmer suppliers, employees, contractors, and general trade suppliers.
OFI has made two senior New Zealand-based appointments to support the development: Operations Director Paul Rennie joins from Tasti Products Ltd and GM Milk Supply Paul Johnson joins from Fonterra. Both have deep experience in the dairy and food industries.
Naval Sabri, Senior Vice President OFI Dairy, said the appointments are important roles for the new investment, enabling OFI to connect with the rural community, especially farmers interested in partnering with OFI.
“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. Our Tokoroa facility will open up more supply options for farmers in South Waikato, and employment opportunities in the community,” said Mr Sabri.
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.
Mr Sabri continued, “This facility will complement and enhance our ability to support our 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 Q3 of 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.
“The Tokoroa dairy ingredients will form part of OFI’s much wider natural ingredients portfolio which includes cocoa, coffee, nuts and spices, ideal combinations with dairy for customised products such as yogurts, protein bars and ready-to-drink tea, coffee and cocoa beverages. OFI has 14 innovation centres across the world, where our R&D teams will be excited to co-create new tastes and textures with our expanded range of dairy ingredients,” said Mr Sabri.
Operations Director Paul Rennie said the new factory is expected to create 50 to 60 full time jobs in Tokoroa when fully operational, with more jobs anticipated in future stages of the development.
“We are looking forward to joining the Tokoroa community and sharing our strong focus on operating sustainably. This will include maximising the use of renewable energy sources, waste minimisation and building infrastructure to ensure we handle our waste in the most sustainable way possible. This will complement the work we will do throughout the supply chain and the work that farmers are doing on their farms.”
GM Milk Supply Paul Johnson said OFI was focused on talking to local farmers to understand their business needs.
“Our priority is to develop a supply offer that works for farmers on every level. OFI is a strong local player, backed by a significant global business. We are taking a long-term view with milk supply partnerships. This means taking the time to understand what will make a genuine difference to our milk supply partners and then shaping our offer accordingly.”