Olam Food Ingredients unveils New Zealand dairy processing facility plans

Olam Food Ingredients has unveiled proposals for a new dairy processing facility in the North Island town of Tokoroa, New Zealand, focusing on key categories including confectionery, bakery and desserts, writes Neill Barston.

As the company noted, its latest investment will be commissioned in the autumn of 2023, coinciding with the region’s  peak season, and includes construction of a spray dryer facility, capable of producing high-value products for the sector.

The business unit, formed last year as a distinct company connected to the Olam Group, now ranks in 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.

Naval Sabri, Senior Vice President OFI Dairy, confirmed that its latest site in New Zealand, which marks a decade that the business has been involved with the region, would be further expanded to enhance coverage across its market segments. The new facility, which will source milk from farms in New Zealand’s dairy heartland of the Waikato (pictured main image) , is expected to create 50 to 60 full time jobs when fully operational.

“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,”  noted Sabri.

“Further, 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.”

“We are pleased to now be deepening our relationship with the industry. By developing our own plant at Tokoroa we are opening up more supply options for farmers in South Waikato and employment opportunities in the community.”

He added that New Zealand’s worldwide reputation for quality and sustainability. “At OFI, we aim to source, process and deliver our products and ingredients in a way that is right for the planet and the people who produce them – values long upheld by New Zealand. By working together with farmers and customers we can make a positive impact and realise joint sustainability ambitions.”

Chair appointment

The move in New Zealand comes as parent group Olam International has appointed Niall FitzGerald has been appointed as the Chair of the Board of Directors for its OFI food ingredients.

As the company noted, its latest appointee is an established business leader, with an executive career with Unilever spanned 37 years, including 18 years as an executive board member. During that period he served as Finance Director, Foods Director and Detergents Director, until his subsequent appointment as Chair and CEO in 1996; a position he held for 8 years until 2004.

Furthermore, he  chaired a broad range of companies and public bodies including Reuters, Hakluyt, Brand Learning, British Museum, Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust, International Business Council and the Advertising Association. He has also served on several Boards, including Bank of Ireland, Ericsson, Merck, Prudential Corp, the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Policy Council for Agriculture and Trade and was President of South Africa’s International Advisory Council.

His current engagements include Chair of The Leverhulme Trust, Chair Hakluyt International Advisory Council and Patron British Irish Chamber of Commerce.

Commenting on the appointment, Chairman of Olam’s Board of Directors, Lim Ah Doo said: “On behalf of the Olam Board, I am pleased to welcome Niall FitzGerald, a highly successful and distinguished international business leader to be the first Chair of the Board of OFI. This is an important step in our ongoing preparations for the concurrent listing and demerger of OFI.

I am confident that Niall will build and lead an effective Board for OFI, which will provide stewardship for sustained profitable growth and value creation with best-in-class governance for all its stakeholders.”

Niall FitzGerald commented: “It is an honour to be invited by the Olam Board to become the first Chair of the Board of OFI. I am delighted to join this exciting business which is right on trend through its natural ingredients portfolio which has a huge growth potential across the world. The track record in showing how commercial success, a passionate commitment to sustainability and positive social impact can integrate effectively, has a particular appeal.

“The opportunity to bring this business to the public markets and recruit a diverse and skilled board will also be a new challenge. I look forward to supporting Shekhar and his talented executive team as they pursue sustained profitable growth with measurable social and environmental impact.”


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