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Aussie mozzarella cheese to be exported to China for first time

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-01 13:52

MELBOURNE - Australian mozzarella cheese from Victoria will be exported to China for the first time, it was announced on Tuesday.

Fonterra Australia, one of the country's leading dairy companies, will send cheese from its new $112 million factory in Stanhope, 197 kilometers north of Melbourne, to China for use on pizza.

Once the factory begins production, it will be the first time Fonterra has made cheese in Australia since 2013 with all production since then taking place in New Zealand.

Rene Dedoncker, managing director of Fonterra, said that the move came in response to the rising popularity of pizza in Asia.

"New Zealand-made Fonterra cheese is already topping more than half the pizzas made in China, and now we will be sending our Australian-made mozzarella as our customers just can't get enough of it," Dedoncker said in a media release on Tuesday.

"In China, the growth in Western-style foodservice outlets has meant more opportunities for Chinese people to try cheese and many are developing a taste for it, particularly on pizza. The market potential is enormous."

Fonterra said that 40 percent of people in urban China were eating at Western-style fast food outlets once a week and the use of dairy products has risen 30 percent in five years.

"As disposable incomes rise in China, spending on dining out is growing, and pizza is a very popular menu choice. They want the extra stretch, softness and flavour of our mozzarella made with high-quality Australian milk," Dedoncker said.

"This supports our strategy to be Fonterra's global ingredients hub for cheese, whey and nutritionals, complementing our consumer and food service businesses."

Jared Ireland, a Fonterra farmer with 450 head of cattle in Northern Victoria, said he was proud to learn that the milk he produced was being turned into high-quality products.

"My family loves eating pizza with its stretchy mozzarella. Knowing where our milk goes, we can tell our children that our farm's milk goes into making mozzarella to top pizzas for families to enjoy in China," Ireland said.

"With Stanhope's new cheese plant coming online, positive news like this gives us confidence in a strong, sustainable future for dairy in Australia."

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