The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • The 2016 Global Dairy Business Year in Review

    By Margaret Speich November 30, 2016

    Our yearly summary allows you to scan or search the acquisitions, mergers, new plants and product line launches from an eventful year. 

    When we published a year-end corporate news summary last year, it became our third most popular blog post ever.

    global dairy news1-746170-edited.jpgWe hope to build on that success with this 2016 compilation of news from U.S. dairy exporters and their competitors. It includes mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, new facilities, marketing initiatives and more―both in the United States and abroad.

    We went through every issue of our weekly, members-only newsletter, Global Dairy eBrief, for the first 11 months of this year to curate and aggregate that information in one place.

    We organized it below in chronological order, starting with January and ending, for now, with November. This blog post will be updated to incorporate December's news.

    We put company names in bold for easy scanning.

    Enough for the explanation. Let's review the year that was: 


    Milk producer Australian Dairy Farms paid A$11 million (about US$8 million) for Victoria, Australia-based Camperdown Dairy Co., including a Camperdown fluid facility certified for export to China. (AAP, 12/29/15)

    China’s Wuxi Modern Agricultural Research Institute rolled out a new milk powder line under the brand name Carecoming. The product is manufactured by New Zealand’s New Image Group . . . Danone is reportedly closing dairy manufacturing plants in Cheboksary and Tomsk, Russia. Production will be transferred to other plants in the region. Danone attributed the closures to outdated equipment, low profitability and declining sales . . . Ireland’s Liffey Mills is building a €3 million dairy feed facility in Roscrea, County Tipperary, to capitalize on post-quota efforts to boost per-cow milk production. (USDEC China office; Irish Independent, 1/6/16; TASS, 1/26/15)

    Starbucks maintains ambitious China plans: Starbucks, which already operates 2,000 Chinese outlets, plans to open 500 additional stores annually in China over the next five years. “We have confidence in the future of the Chinese economy, despite all the rhetoric, noise and issues,” said CEO Howard Schultz. Euromonitor projects an 18 percent gain in coffee cups drunk per capita in China from 2015-2019. (Wall Street Journal, 1/12/16)

    Ornua buys China’s Ambrosia Dairy: Ireland’s Ornua purchased Ambrosia Dairy, a Shanghai-based manufacturer of cheese yogurt and sour cream. Ornua said the purchase significantly increases its access to China’s high-end retail market and provides an entry point into supplying dairy ingredients to the rapidly growing Chinese foodservice sector. The deal includes a new-product development center that Ornua intends to use to create cheeses tailored specifically to Chinese tastes. (Company reports; Business Post, 1/13/16)

    Midfield Group aims to get its Penola, South Australia, milk powder plant up and running by the end of the year. The A$70 million facility is located in a former potato processing plant . . . In late December, Tnuva opened a new $89 million factory in Tel Yosef, Israel, to manufacture yellow cheese. The company, owned by China’s Bright Foods, plans to begin exporting the product to China this year . . . Lithuanian dairy processor Vilkyskiu Pienine plans to build a $28-million whey processing facility in the city of Taurage. The estimated completion date is the first quarter of 2017 . . . Canadian dairy co-ops Gay Lea Foods and ADL created the Co-operative Dairy Alliance, a joint venture that aims to maximize sales and marketing efficiency and optimize processing. The co-ops said they remain independent, and the Alliance is neither a merger nor a first step toward a merger . . . A group of Indian entrepreneurs and Israel’s AlefBet Planners are looking to develop a $600 million dairy farm complex in South Sudan. Should the deal move forward, it would be one of the largest dairy farms in Africa . . . Arla Foods plans to increase organic milk production in Denmark by 25 percent due to rising demand locally and globally. (The Weekly Times, 1/15/16; Journal Pioneer, 1/13/16; Copenhagen Post, 1/13/16;, 1/11/16; Haaretz, 1/20/15)

    Morinaga opens Singapore subsidiary: Japan’s Morinaga Milk industry opened a new subsidiary in Singapore called Morinaga Nutritional Foods to capitalize on rising demand for high-specification dairy ingredients in Southeast Asia, particularly for use in infant nutrition products. “Singapore is now becoming a focal point for major global infant formula manufacturers and raw material suppliers,” Morinaga said. To see the company’s press release on the new venture, click here. (Company reports)

    Switzerland’s Emmi purchased the remaining 24 percent stake in German organic dairy processor Gläserne Molkerei, giving it 100 percent ownership in the company . . . Arla Foods merged its two UK cooperatives—Arla Milk Link and Arla Milk Cooperative—into a single cooperative body: Arla UK Farmers. (Company reports; The Scottish Farmer, 1/15/16

    Fonterra officially opened its Beijing Applications Center, its fourth such facility in the country . . . Australia’s Lion Dairy and Drinks is consolidating its distribution network, outsourcing warehousing and investing A$40 million to increase fluid milk capacity at its Perth facility in Western Australia, a plan meant to underpin domestic expansion plans . . . Krispy Kreme Doughnuts signed a franchise agreement with Panama’s Barcenas Group International to open 16 stores in Panama by the end of 2020. The deal is part of a focused push by Krispy Kreme into Latin America . . . The official name for the new business created by the integrated Müller Wiseman Dairies and Dairy Crest dairy operations is Müller Milk & Ingredients . . . Cargill opened a $2 million Technology Applications Center in Izmir, Turkey, to assist dairy and poultry customers in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa leverage feed technologies to grow their businesses. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Queensland Country Life, 1/20/16;, 1/18/16; Winston-Salem Journal, 12/22/15)

    Ryan hired as new Darigold CEO: Seattle-based Darigold hired Stan Ryan as its new CEO effective February 22. Ryan served for 25 years in executive positions at Cargill, including platform leader of Cargill’s Agricultural Supply Chain in Shanghai, where he oversaw agricultural commodities origination, trading and processing. Most recently he was interim CEO and board director for New York-based Eagle Bulk Shipping. (Company reports)

    Nestlé makes ecommerce deal with Alibaba: Nestlé signed a partnership deal with Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, saying that an online presence is an essential part of building its brands in China. The deal covers five e-commerce sites—,,, and—from which Nestlé plans to build key brands, grow online sales, rollout new products, and better reach and develop rural markets. In addition to direct sales online, the company said offline purchases are increasingly influenced by what consumers see online, “so brand building has gone beyond having good television advertising and nice packaging.” (Company reports;, 1/20/16)

    Lactalis agreed to purchase Romania’s largest dairy processor Albalact . . . China’s Yashili Group sold infant formula manufacturer Scient International Group to fellow Chinese dairy processor Ausnutria Dairy . . . Singapore-based Schulze Global Investment purchased a 45 percent stake in Ethiopian dairy processor MB and plans to triple capacity at the company’s two manufacturing plants. (USDEC China office;, 1/28/16; Addis Fortune, 1/24/16)

    After rumors circulated late last year, Coca-Cola confirmed it will launch a dairy-based beverage line in India under the Vio label. Schreiber Dynamix Dairies will manufacture the product, which will debut across the country starting in February . . . Chinese nutritional supplement manufacturer By-Health reportedly reached a framework agreement with Fonterra whereby the Kiwi dairy processor will help develop protein-fortified products and other functional foods for sale in China . . . Japan’s Ezaki Glico rolled out four ice cream brands—Palitte, Giant Cone, Panapp and Seventeen—in Thailand. Its Thai subsidiary Glico Frozen (Thailand) will market the products, which are being manufactured by a local Thai processor under contract . . . The UK created a new export promotion agency called the Great British Food Unit and tasked it with the goal of doubling the export value of domestically produced food and drinks. (USDEC Japan office;, 1/27/16; Press Trust of India, 1/25/16; TheDairySite, 1/22/16)


    Australian domestic cheese shift may have international impact: A decision by Australian supermarket Coles to move an A$130 million private label cheese manufacturing contract (about US$92 million) from Bega Cheese to Murray Goulburn has implications for international markets. Bega said it would divert the milk that had been going to cheese into infant formula and other higher value products, with a focus on China. (Coles new five-year contract with Murray Goulburn goes into effect in January 2016.) Bega contract manufactures the Bellamy’s brand and, through a 50/50 joint venture formed late last year with Australian vitamin firm Blackmores, produces a Blackmores range of infant nutrition products. Both are exported to China. For its part, Murray Goulburn said the new cheese contract would support its international expansion ambitions: “You need to build critical mass in your domestic market to be able to play a bigger role regionally and internationally.” Murray Goulburn is spending A$145 million (about US$103 million) to upgrade cutting and wrapping its Cobram, Victoria, cheese factory as part of the effort. (Sydney Morning Herald, 2/2/16, 2/1/16)

    Coca-Cola enters African dairy sector: Coca-Cola acquired a 40 percent stake in Nigerian juice, dairy and snack maker Chi Ltd., with an option to increase ownership to 100 percent within three years. Although juice is its main business, Chi sells evaporated milk and drinkable yogurt under the Hollandia brand. “We are extremely optimistic about Africa’s continued economic and social growth and recognize the importance of ensuring we stay one step ahead of evolving consumer tastes by broadening our portfolio and introducing new products,” said Kelvin Balogun, president of Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa. (Wall Street Journal, 1/30/16; AP, 1/30/16)

    Mexico’s Grupo Lala acquired Nicaraguan dairy processor La Perfecta . . . Switzerland’s Emmi expanded its goat’s milk holdings by acquiring a 60 percent stake in Dutch processor Bettinehoeve. Emmi and Bettinehoeve have operated a goat milk powder joint venture for the past three years . . .  Lactalis reportedly acquired a stake in Georgian dairy processor Sante. (Company reports;, 2/2/16; La Prensa, 1/29/16)

    International Dairy Queen opened its first two DQ Grill & Chill outlets in Vietnam. It already operates 19 ice cream stores in the country. The company and its Vietnamese franchisee plan to debut another 25 Grill & Chills and 35 ice cream outlets by 2019 . . . Turkey’s Aynes Gida—one of three Turkish dairy processors cleared to export to Russia—filed for bankruptcy protection . . . Japanese c-store retailers FamilyMart and Uny Group, which agreed to merge last October, plan to convert all Uny convenience stores to the FamilyMart brand . . . Egyptian dairy processor Arabian Food Industries (Domty) plans to launch an IPO in March, hoping to raise more than $125 million by capitalizing on rising investor interest in the Egyptian dairy and food sectors. (USFDEC Vietnam office; USDEC Japan office; Reuters, 2/3/16; Cihan/Today’s Zaman, 2/3/16)

    Arla reorganizes: Arla Foods is overhauling its entire organizational structure to become “more efficient and globally focused.” The multi-national co-op is streamlining management, eliminating 500 jobs and focusing commercial sales on two geographies: Europe and international. The company hopes the changes will help boost organic annual revenue growth from the 2 percent seen over the past four years to 4 percent by 2020. For more on Arla’s plans, click here to read the company’s new release on the move. (Company news)

    Foodservice roundup: Global restaurant expansion continues despite economic uncertainty. The Middle East in particular is seeing strong activity from Western and homegrown chain operators. McDonald’s, for example, plans on adding 500 more outlets in the Middle East and Africa by 2020. Here are some other recent developments.

    • UAE-based Glee Hospitality Solutions plans to open at least five new restaurant concepts over the next two years, with a focus on Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. It already operates 18 different restaurant concepts (35 outlets total) in the region, ranging from gourmet sandwich shops like Burger Hood to casual pizzerias like Chez Amy’s to bakery and coffee shops like Molten Me.
    • McDonald’s opened a new concept store in Hong Kong that features table service, large salad and dessert bars, and a mood-lighted dining area and began testing a new “create their taste” feature at certain locations in the UAE. The UAE program also features table service and allows customers to customize their orders from a wider range of toppings, buns and sauces. Both are meant to compete with the growing number of high-end burger joints.
    • Romano’s Macaroni Grill debuted in Oman and The Cheesecake Factory debuted in Lebanon last month. Lebanon-based Assaad Food & Beverage is the local Cheesecake Factory franchisee. Assaad also owns franchise rights to Texas Roadhouse, Al Forno and P.F. Chang’s. Dubai-based Salen Bin Lahej Group is the Macaroni Grill franchisee in Egypt, Oman and the UAE.
    • Domino’s Pizza plans to add 150 new outlets in India—its largest market outside the United States—in each of the next 2-3 years. The company opened its 1,000th Indian outlet last week. (USDEC Middle East office; Wall Street Journal India Real Time Report, 2/5/16; Sydney Morning Herald, 1/3/16)

    Dutch dairy processor FrieslandCampina Domo signed a partnership agreement with New Zealand-based carbohydrate expert GlycoSyn to develop new infant nutrition ingredients . . . Canadian dairy processor Agropur said it was interested in acquiring additional U.S. dairy operations. The company called current U.S. buying opportunities “substantial.” (Company reports; Reuters, 2/10/16)

    Blue Lake Dairy Group, a company formed last year by a group of Australian and Chinese investors, plans to build a milk powder manufacturing plant in Tantanoola, South Australia . . .  Fonterra implemented a new market-linked milk pricing system aimed at increasing intake of organic milk. Organic milk powder sells for nearly five times the price of non-organic milk powder on the international market, the co-op said. Fonterra said it hopes to process another 600,000 kg/MS of organic milk this year. (Company reports; The Weekly Times, 2/8/16;, 2/5/16)

    GII plans to double Wexford cheese capacity: Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) plans to double cheddar manufacturing capacity at its Wexford, Ireland, facility to nearly 40,000 tons annually. It hopes to start the €35-million expansion project (about US$39 million) later this year and begin production by early 2017. GII recently launched branded Wexford cheddar in the Middle East, and hopes to expand sales to the region. It also markets the cheese domestically and exports to the UK and United States. (Irish Times, 2/18/16; Agriland, 2/18/16)

    Mondelez to sell grocery brands, including Philadelphia cream cheese: Mondelez International officially announced it was selling its grocery brands, including the Philadelphia cream cheese label. Kraft Heinz owns the Philadelphia brand in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, but Mondelez controls it elsewhere. Kraft Heinz has an option to buy back Philadelphia, but a number of other suitors are reportedly interested as well. Mondelez informed bidders that all the grocery brands will go on sale in March. Analysts expected such a sale last year, but Mondelez denied it at the time. (, 2/15/16; The Drum, 2/14/16)

    A group of GCC investors is buying a 69 percent stake in Kuwaiti food group Americana, one of the largest food manufacturers in the region, for a rumored $2 billion. Americana also hold a number of international restaurant franchises, including Pizza Hut, KFC and TGI Friday’s . . . Dutch ingredients supplier Barentz International established a new joint-venture distribution facility in Iran with Future Way Holding. (USDEC Middle East office)

    Australia’s Camperdown Dairy International signed a deal to ship A$19 million of infant formula annually to Vietnam. The agreement gives Vietnamese distributor KLF Global exclusive rights to distribute Camperdown’s Green Meadow brand  . . . Fonterra shuttered the milk powder dryer at its Whareroa, Taranaki, facility, as the company looks to divert more of its milk supply into “high value” products, including MPC. The company held open the possibility of reopening the line should North Island milk output growth dictate . . .  Northland Milk NZ, a startup North Island dairy processor, hopes to begin shipping long-life milk and cream to China in late 2017. The company is lining up funding and obtaining final consents to build an NZ$40 million plant outside of Kerikeri capable of processing 310 tons of milk per day. (Company reports; The Northern Advocate, 2/15/16; The Weekly Times, 2/14/16)

    Ornua butter plant targets international demand, courts controversy: Irish dairy co-op Ornua expects to open a new butter manufacturing plant in Mitchelstown later this year. The new plant will take the place of aging third-party facilities. Ornua said it was needed “to meet the increasingly sophisticated international market requirements for tailored products, including new butter products and formats not currently available in Ireland.” One of its primary initial items will be stick butter for the U.S. market. It will be the company’s first production facility in Ireland, a move that some analysts believe could generate tension in the Irish dairy sector given Ornua’s position as an international marketer of dairy products manufactured by its members. Ornua downplayed the issue, noting that its members’ cream would be going into the butter. For more on the potential controversy, read the Irish Times article here. (Irish Times, 2/20/16)

    Bega sees big opportunity in healthy aging products: Bega Cheese Executive Chairman Barry Irvin said that over the next decade dairy products for healthy aging will be as big as infant formula is today. Bega and its joint venture partner Blackmores rolled out an infant formula line earlier this year and are currently focusing on new product development with an emphasis on “the other end of the age spectrum.” “Things like bone health, gut health, brain health, metabolic challenges like diabetes—there’s myriad dairy proteins and products” with “extraordinary research” supporting their contribution to people’s health, Irvin said. (Sydney Morning Herald, 2/24/16)

    Nestlé entered the Vietnamese ice cream market, selling Milo and Kit Kat brand products imported from Thailand . . . Rod Quin, CEO of New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products, is stepping down. He did not specify a date but said he would remain in the job until a replacement was named . . . Australia’s Camperdown Dairy International (CDI) is investigating an IPO to raise A$100 million to expand its infant formula business. (CDI is unrelated to Camperdown Dairy Co., recently acquired by Australian Dairy Farms Group.) . . . Australi an organic milk, yogurt, cheese and butter maker B.-d. Farm Paris Creek is spending A$6.5 million to add extended shelf-life packaging capacity to its Adelaide Hills, South Australia, plant, with an eye toward expanding into overseas markets. (USDEC Vietnam office; Company reports; Australian Financial Review, 2/23/16; Stock Journal, 2/3/16)


    FrieslandCampina looks to buy majority stake in Pakistan’s Engro: FrieslandCampina is considering buying a 51 percent stake in Engro Foods, Pakistan’s second-largest public dairy manufacturer. At the recent share price, that would cost the Dutch dairy giant about $500 million. (Company reports; Bloomberg, 3/3/16)

    Vinamilk inks Mideast supply deal: At last week’s Gulfood show, Vietnam’s Vinamilk signed commercial contracts to supply $12.5 million of sweetened condensed milk and milk powder. The milk powder is destined for infant and follow-on formula. Vinamilk is aiming to grow its export business in the Middle East by 10 percent per year, with a focus on markets such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Buyers in those nations are reportedly being drawn to lower Vietnamese prices. (USDEC Vietnam office)

    CDI looks to build milk flows: California Dairies Inc. (CDI) is looking to grow its milk supply. A recent capacity optimization project increased milk handling capacity 2.5 million lbs. per day, a number augmented by growing sales from its core business and its wholly owned subsidiary Challenge Dairy Products. The co-op is now accepting new membership applications. (Company reports)

    Murray Goulburn moves ahead with milk powder plant: Australia’s Murray Goulburn plans to formally announce an A$260-$300 million expansion (about US$185-$215 million) at its Koroit, Victoria, manufacturing plant in the coming weeks. The addition would reportedly produce up to 63,000 tons of SMP, WMP, infant formula and nutritional-base powders primarily for export to Asia. The company plans to launch its own infant formula brand, Natra Start, in Australia this month and in China by May. Murray Goulburn first mentioned the Koroit project in April 2015 and has been working to secure anchor supply agreements to support the investment. (The Weekly Times, 3/1/16)

    Fonterra plans to make a final decision on whether to close its Kaikoura, South Island, cheese factory by mid-month. Transferring Kaikoura production to other sites in its plant system would deliver “significant savings,” Fonterra says. The facility operates only three-to-five months a year, producing up to 28 tons per day . . . UAE-based Delta Food Industries opened a $10-million evaporated milk and cream plant in the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone. Delta distributes to 20 nations in the Middle East and Africa . . . Midia Agro, a unit of Switzerland-based real estate firm Midia Group, plans to build a €98-million (about US$107-million) dairy ingredient plant near Nitra, Slovakia. Midia Agro expects to complete the facility in the first quarter of 2018, with product earmarked for infant nutrition manufacturers in Asia. (Company reports; Emirates News Agency, 3/1/16; The Slovak Spectator, 3/1/16)

    Nestlé invests in Irish infant nutrition R&D center: Nestlé is spending more than €25 million (about US$28 million) to build an R&D center at its Askeaton, Ireland, infant formula plant. The facility, slated to open in late 2017, will focus on global product innovation for Nestlé’s Wyeth Nutrition infant and maternal nutrition business. (Company news)

    Looking to shore up sagging revenues, Korea Yakult ventured into the cheese sector via a distribution deal with France’s Bel Group. Yakult launched two varieties of Bel’s Kiri brand in two markets, with plans to go national in the second half of 2016 . . . Low prices and high volatility convinced New Zealand farm group Landcorp to scale back plans to convert 36,000 acres of North Island forest land to dairy farming. Under the new plan, the dairy production will occupy about 22,000 acres . . . Turkey’s Pinar Food and Beverage Group plans to broaden distribution of its Pinar labneh brand throughout the GCC . . . Arla Foods plans to close its Hatfield Peverel fluid milk processing plant in Essex, England. Most of the production will be transferred to its giant Aylesbury facility. (Company reports; USDEC Middle East office; USDEC South Korea office; New Zealand Herald, 3/8/16)

    Murray Goulburn inks infant formula deals with Mead Johnson, Kalbe: Australia’s Murray Goulburn (MG) entered into supply agreements this week with infant formula manufacturers Mead Johnson Nutrition and Kalbe Nutritionals. The partnerships clear the way for the dairy processor to move forward with an A$260-$300 million investment (about US$194-$224 million) in nutritional powder manufacturing at its Koroit, Victoria, facility. MG announced the Koroit expansion about a year ago but has been holding off until it could secure sizable long-term supply deals. The framework agreement with Mead Johnson also calls for the formula marketer to build a nutritional packaging plant at Koroit, with finished products exported to the Asia Pacific region, including China. The deal with Kalbe expands MG’s existing relationship with the Indonesian consumer health and infant nutrition giant. Kalbe, with an extensive distribution network throughout Indonesia, committed to buying “significant minimum annual volumes over time,” MG said. To supply the companies, MG plans to add two dryers to Koroit, each capable of processing 45,000 tons per year. The two-dryer configuration would provide the requisite flexibility needed to meet varying customer specifications while also producing the company’s recently launched Devondale Natra Start infant formula brand, MG said. Assuming the company’s board approves the Koroit investment and MG secures regulatory clearance, it expects to have the first of the new dryers operational by early 2019. When completed, the project will expand MG’s total infant formula capacity (18,000 tons per year at its Cobram, Victoria, plant) by more than six-fold and is part of its overall strategy to focus more on higher value, branded products instead of commodities. The company is also spending A$190 million to build a new extended shelf-life milk plant in Laverton, Victoria, with product earmarked for Asia. (Company reports; The Age, 3/15/16; The Standard, 3/15/16)

    Ornua opened a €20 million cheese manufacturing plant and innovation center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The plant recombines milk ingredients to manufacture fresh white cheeses for the foodservice sector . . . Australia’s Blue Lake Dairy expects to finish an A$15-million powder blending and packing facility in South Australia and begin shipping to China later this year. An A$50-million powder processing facility is still in the planning phase . . . Fonterra completed the second of two new cheese slice lines at its Eltham facility on the North Island. The slice-on-slice line, together with a new wrapped-slice line completed at Eltham last year, target Asian foodservice growth . . . Fonterra confirmed the closure of its Kaikoura cheese plant. . . Nestlé is building a new $70-million factory in Vietnam’s Hung Yen Province that the company says will facilitate “product innovations for local consumption.” The company did not provide details on the facility but local press reported it would focus on health and nutrition products, including dairy-based items . . . Agri-Mark is investing $30 million to expand and modernize its cheese plant in Chateaugay, N.Y. . . . African dairy and food processor Promasidor Nigeria plans to invest $25 million to modernize its plant in Lagos, Nigeria, including equipment to expand its dairy portfolio and automate its milk powder lines . . . New Zealand’s Synlait Milk is considering expanding its blending/canning capacity to keep up with rising nutritional powder demand. (Company reports; ABC Rural, 3/17/16; Agriland, 3/16/16; BNews, 3/16/16; New Zealand Herald, 3/14/16; Watertown Daily Times, 3/12/16;, 3/11/16)

    Arla, DFA form U.S. cheddar joint venture: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Arla Foods formed a joint venture to produce premium branded cheddar for U.S. retail markets. The two plan to build a $58 million manufacturing plant to process 70,000 tons of raw milk per year from DFA suppliers. Arla would fund 20 percent of the investment, DFA the other 80 percent. Product would be marketed in the United States. For more details, view the Arla press release. (Company reports)

    Bel opens Côte d’Ivoire cheese facility: France’s Bel Group inaugurated its first Sub-Saharan manufacturing facility: a new processed cheese plant in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The facility is unique in that the company spent three years “miniaturizing” the process to make Laughing Cow cheese portions, creating a scaled-down version of the production line from its larger facilities, assembling and testing the plant in France, and then shipping the pieces to Abidjan for reassembly. The facility cost $3.4 million and can produce 20 million Laughing Cow cheese portions annually. Bel sells its dairy products in 44 African countries and operates three other African plants in Algeria, Egypt and Morocco. (, 3/22/16)

    NFPC anchors UAE “food cluster”: UAE-based dairy and food processor National Food Products Co. (NFPC) has begun building a massive 8-million-sq.-ft. manufacturing and distribution center at the Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi (KIZAD). The facility will anchor the KIZAD “food cluster”—what developer/operator Abu Dhabi Ports expects will be a hub for food and beverage companies interested in meeting rising food demand in the GCC. NFPC manufactures dairy products under the Lacnor and Milco brands and operates a joint venture with Arla Foods, distributing Lurpak and other brands. The new plant will house manufacturing for Milco products, as well as NFPC water and juice operations and a fully automated cold-storage facility. (USDEC Middle East office)

    Chobani is investing $100 million to expand capacity and create a global R&D facility at its Twin Falls, Idaho, plant. In addition to adding drinkable yogurt and yogurt-based dip capacity, Chobani plans to use the site to launch products for international markets, including Mexico . . . French fruit processor Materne is searching for a U.S. site to build a manufacturing plant for dairy-based products, including GoGo squeeZ yogurtZ, and is reportedly considering Nampa, Idaho . . . Germany’s Hochwald officially opened its new demineralized whey powder facility at its Hünfield site. The plant can produce up to 60 tons of demineralized whey powder daily . . . Saputo is closing three Canadian manufacturing plants in Sydney, Nova Scotia; Princeville, Quebec; and Ottawa, Ontario, as part of an effort to improve operational efficiency. Production will be transferred to other facilities, which will receive C$32 million in upgrades over the next two years to handle the additional volume. (Company reports;, 3/23/16; Capital Press, 3/20/16; Magic Valley, 3/17/16)

    Al Rawabi invests to expand export business: UAE-based dairy company Al Rawabi plans to spend $21 million this year to increase capacity and enter new export markets. The company, which currently distributes to seven Middle Eastern and North African countries, said its mission is to be a brand recognized across the entire MENA region by 2020. It plans to launch a series of new products, including cheese and high-value dairy items to address particular consumer nutritional concerns, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and vitamin D deficiency. In addition, Al Rawabi said it might spend up to $200 million in acquisitions this year, including buying a dairy farm and processing facility in Abu Dhabi and land in Africa to grow alfalfa. It spent $47 million to bolster dairy farming, processing and cold storage facilities over the past three years. (USDEC Middle East office;, 3/24/16; The National, 3/23/16; Zawya, 3/23/16)

    Foodservice roundup: A glance at recent news in overseas foodservice activity:

    • McDonald’s is looking for an investment partner to help build its business in China. The company is looking to add 1,300 outlets to its existing Chinese total of 2,200. Separately, the company opened its first unit in Kazakhstan, operated by local businessman and Belarusian franchisee Kairat Boranbayev.
    • Dunkin’ Donuts signed a franchise agreement with Alimentacion Mexico Americana to develop 20 Dunkin’ Donuts locations across five Mexican states. Dunkin Donuts opened its first Mexican outlets in late 2015 through a separate franchise deal with Sizzling Platter and plans on having 150 units in the country in the coming years.
    • Yum! Brands plans to open its first Taco Bell in China by the end of 2016. Yum is in the process of spinning off its China operations into a separate entity and expects to complete that transition by the end of 2016. It also is talking with a Chinese private equity group to sell a 20 percent stake in the spinoff.
    • International Dairy Queen opened its first outlet in Jordan. Over the next five years, it plans to open nine more throughout the country via its partnership with Jordan’s SKM Franchise Co.
    • Canada-based chocolate café dipindip signed a partnership with Abu Dhabi-based Almed that will take the dessert/beverage house to four new countries: China, Georgia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Wall Street Journal, 3/31/16; Nation’s Restaurant News, 3/28/16; CNN Money, 3/16/16;, 3/15/16, 3/7/16)

    California’s Pulmuone Foods, owned by Korea-based Pulmuone Co., purchased dairy-alternative soy products manufacturer Vitasoy USA . . . North Carolina-based Aseptia sold its Carolina Dairy yogurt plant to a newly formed subsidiary of AmeriQual Group Holdings. (, 3/29/16, 3/8/16)

    Finland’s Valio expects to soon open a new $190 million factory in Herajoki, Finland, to produce dairy snacks for the domestic and export markets . . . North Carolina-based engineering specialist SPX Flow signed contracts to design, engineer and build three fresh dairy processing plants—two in China and one in France. The company did not reveal the customers but said the Chinese projects were greenfield liquid dairy facilities that would produce fresh and long-life products . . . Danone Nutricia discontinued sales of its Karicare Gold infant formula brand in China to focus on its Nutrilon and Aptamil labels in the country. Karicare sales have been down since the name was associated with New Zealand’s botulism false alarm in 2013 . . . Greece’s Fage is abandoning the Greek fluid milk market to focus on yogurt production and exports . . . A group of 33 small-scale, independent cheesemakers in Scotland formed a new organization called Fine Cheesemakers of Scotland to collectively promote artisan cheeses to domestic and export markets. (Company reports;, 3/30/16; New Zealand Herald, 3/30/16’, 3/29/16)


    New California dairy processor Valley Milk LLC named Patricia Smith its CEO. Smith has 25 years of international business experience, with organizations including Fonterra and Roquette . . . Vietnam’s Vinamilk closed its Cambodian sales office and instead appointed Cambodia’s Angkor Dairy Products as its importer/distributor in the country . . . Britain’s Adams Foods and Adams Food Ingredients changed their names to Ornua Foods and Ornua Nutrition Ingredients to reflect parent company Ornua . . . Nestlé is opening a Nestlé Research Center in Singapore to study nutrition and healthy aging. (Company reports; The Phnom Penh Post, 4/6/16; Leek Post & Times, 4/6/16; Modesto Bee, 3/31/16)

    Ornua suspends levy to support farmers, plots acquisitions: Ireland’s Ornua will suspend its dairy farmer levy starting May 1 to ease the sector’s cash flow crunch. The levy is used to develop markets for the Kerrygold brand in other countries. The co-op estimates that suspending the levy will keep an additional €6 million (about US$6.8 million) in producer pockets this year. In separate news, the group said it would invest €250 million (about US$285 million) in overseas acquisitions from now until 2020 to develop markets for Ireland’s rising milk supply. (Irish Examiner, 4/13/16; Agriland, 4/12/16)

    Danone Nutricia NZ expects to complete its new NZ$25 million blending and packing plant in Auckland, New Zealand, by mid-September . . . Australia’s WAFarmers expects to begin shipping regular weekly consignments of fresh milk to China in two to three weeks. The endeavor, a collaboration between WAFarmers, Processor Harvey Fresh and China’s Lifeland, already successfully airlifted three trial shipments of fresh milk . . . Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group is paying $1 billion for a controlling stake in Singapore e-commerce startup Lazada Group . . . Britain’s Müller Milk & Ingredients is investing $22 million to expand its Bellshill, Scotland, fluid milk facility and plans to shutter operations in East Kilbride and Aberdeen, Scotland. (Queensland Country Life, 4/12/16; Wall Street Journal, 4/12/16;, 4/11/16; The Courier, 4/1/16)

    Westland opens UHT facility: New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products officially opened its new NZ$40 million (about US$28 million) UHT milk and cream plant in Rolleston on the South Island. The plant, part of the company’s attempt to shift volume to high-value products, can process up to 14,000 liters of milk per hour. Westland plans to target export markets, including the Chinese foodservice and bakery sector with UHT cream, and claims to have already received “substantial orders.” (New Zealand government; Rural News Group, 4/18/16)

    Saudi Arabian dairy giant Almarai confirmed it is interested in purchasing Abu Dhabi’s National Food Products Co. (see Global Dairy eBrief, 3/24/16) . . . Financial Review reports that China’s Mengniu Dairy is close to buying a majority stake in Australia’s Burra Foods . . . A China-based consortium including Shanghai Pengxin Group agreed to purchase Australian cattle empire S. Kidman and Co., whose lands cover an area larger than Ireland. Australian regulators shot down a previous Pengxin bid to buy Kidman last year . . . Lactalis is reportedly seeking acquisitions in the northern India market . . . Malaysia’s Kumpulan Wang Persaraan is reportedly looking to acquire a 30-40 percent stake in Malaysia-based F&B Nutrition, the creamer and sweetened condensed milk manufacturing arm of Can-One . . . Latvian dairy company Food Union acquired Romanian ice cream maker Alpin57lux . . . Fonterra Australia and Murray Goulburn Co-operative sold their respective shares of food testing business Dairy Technical Services to a consortium comprised by Bureau Veritas Group and AsureQuality Ltd. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports;, 4/20/16; Financial Review, 4/20/16; Economic Times, 4/20/16; Wall Street Journal, 4/19/16; The Star (Malaysia), 4/19/16)

    China’s New Hope Dairy opened a new $92-million pasteurized milk plant in southwest China . . . Egyptian dairy and juice processor Arabian Food Industries (Domty) reportedly signed a deal to export $10 million worth of products annually to Russian retailer Magnit . . . Japan’s Meiji Holdings is spending $150 million on a new Tokyo R&D center that will consolidate its dairy and confectionery research arms into a single location. (Ahram Online, 4/19/16; Nikkei Asian Review, 4/13/16)

    Nestlé and Britain’s R&R Ice Cream formed a joint venture called Froneri that combines their ice cream businesses in Europe, the Middle East, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa. Froneri will be based in the UK. (, 4/27/16)

    Saputo President and COO Dino Dello Sbarba, who spoke at this month’s USDEC Board of Directors Meeting, announced he will retire on April 1, 2017. Kai Bockmann, president and COO of Saputo’s international sector, will take over Dello Sbarba’s role . . . India’s Banas Dairy inaugurated a new mozzarella and processed cheese manufacturing plant in Palanpur capable of producing 30 tons per day . . . Australian processor Pactum Dairy Group signed a deal to supply Vietnam’s International Dairy Products with 4 million liters of UHT milk annually . . . Starbucks opened its first Sub-Saharan Africa store in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is planning 12-15 more South African units over the next two years. (USDEC Vietnam office; Company reports; Times of India, 4/26/16; Wall Street Journal, 4/21/16)


    Murray Goulburn seeks to calm members; directors resign: Murray Goulburn (MG) began a series of supplier meetings this week to answer questions about the co-op’s earnings and farmgate milk price adjustments. MG is looking to reassure angry farmers and minimize suppliers switching to other dairy processors. Farmers are reportedly skeptical of directors’ claims that they only learned of the forecasting errors shortly before last week’s announcements. The company’s Milk Supply Support Package will cost the average farmer A$127,500 (about US$97,000) over the next three years, as milk checks are assessed for money borrowed to maintain an A$5.47/kgMS for the 2015/16 season. At press time, two more members had resigned from Murray Goulburn’s board of directors, although one said it was due to health issues. (Company reports; The Weekly Times, 5/3/16; The Standard, 5/2/16)

    Fonterra halves expansion plans at Studholme: New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group cut expansion plans in half at its Studholme, South Island, milk powder plant. The company originally proposed adding two 30-ton/hr. driers, two coal-fired boilers and a new 720,000-sq.-ft. dry storage facility. The revised plan calls for only one dryer and boiler and a 370,000-sq.-ft. dry store, with the boiler now partially fueled by biomass. The co-op cited environmental concerns voiced by the project’s opponents during resource consent hearings. (Timaru Herald, 5/5/16)

    Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies purchased Fane Valley’s dairy business based in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. Fane Valley will maintain control of its extensive agri-business operations . . . A China-based consortium dropped its bid for Australian cattle empire S. Kidman and Co. after the Australian government said it would reject the deal on the grounds that it was not in the country’s best interests . . . China’s Inner Mongolia Fuyuan Farming purchased a 79 percent stake in Australia’s Burra Foods, based in Burnley, Victoria. Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board must still approve the purchase . . . China’s Yili Group sold its stake in China Huishan Dairy to India’s Vindus Holdings for $54 million. (USDEC China office; Company reports; The Age, 5/4/16; Wall Street Journal, 5/3/16)

    India’s Parag Milk Foods launched an IPO this week after raising more than $50 million from a group of anchor investors. Additional shares through the IPO could generate another $45 million, a portion of which will go toward plant expansion and modernization projects . . . Mondelez India Food opened Phase 1 of what will eventually be a massive chocolate manufacturing plant in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. Phase 1 will produce 60,000 tons of Cadbury milk chocolate per year, rising to 250,000 tons when the company completes Phase 3 in 2020 . . . Southampton, UK-based dairy Pensworth shipped its first installment of UHT milk to China and plans to extend its UHT export business to Malaysia and Vietnam. It is in the process of a $12 million plan to expand operations. (VCCircle, 5/3/16; Hampshire Chronicle, 5/3/16; The Financial Express, 4/26/16)

    Kerry Co-op loses CEO as disgruntled farmers voice dissatisfaction: Stan McCarthy stepped down as CEO of the Kerry Co-op board but will retain his role as CEO of Kerry Group plc. The move reportedly reflects increasing divisions between the processor and the farmers of the co-op. Farmers are upset that Kerry Group has not made a “13th payment” to farmers—an additional annual check to cover the difference between the Kerry milk price and that paid to rival Irish co-ops that is part of the processor’s commitment to pay “the leading milk price.” Kerry Group maintains that conditions for a 13th payment have not been met and has referred the matter to a mediator. (Irish Examiner, 5/11/16; Newstalk, 5/10/16)

    Fonterra launches global foodservice brand: Fonterra rolled out a new global foodservice brand called Anchor Food Professionals. Sixty specialized foodservice products will carry the label to start. Fonterra is aiming to grow its foodservice business from about NZ$1.5 billion in 2014/15 to NZ$5 billion (about US$3.4 billion) by 2023 by expanding existing sales in Asia but also taking its foodservice model to North and South America. (Company reports)

    Mead Johnson to expand Mexican powder plant: Mead Johnson Nutrition is adding a new milk powder dryer to its Mexican manufacturing facility in Delicias, Chihuahua. The plant, due for completion in 2018, will produce 15,000 tons of base powder per year mostly for export to other Mead Johnson facilities in Latin America. (USDEC Mexico office; Lecheria Latina, 5/5/16)

    Arla opens Senegal packaging operation: Arla Foods opened a new 150,000-sq.-ft. packaging facility in Senegal. The plant will take up to 5,000 tons per year of bulk milk powder manufactured in Europe and package it retail-size containers, including individual, affordable foil sachets. Arla said it expects to use the plant as a gateway to further expansion into West Africa, starting with Mali. (Company reports)

    Germany’s DMK is reportedly buying a series of Russian cheese companies, including Bobrovsky, FlamanFrakht and RichArt Group . . . Switzerland’s Emmi purchased California-based organic cheesemaker Cowgirl Creamery Corp. and the associated company Tomales Bay Foods . . . Indonesia’s Delfi Ltd. and South Korea’s Orion Confectionery formed a joint venture to market branded confectionery products in Indonesia. The companies estimate Delfi-Orion will control half of Indonesia’s retail chocolate sector . . . Luxembourg-based JAB Holding, owner of multiple coffeehouse chains including Caribou Coffee, paid $1.35 billion for U.S. doughnut giant Krispy Kreme. (Company reports;, 5/16/16; Moscow Times, 5/13/16; New York Times, 5/9/16)

    Australia’s Freedom Foods expanded its supply agreement with Chinese distributor PinLive. PinLive will carry a broader range of Freedom’s dairy products (manufactured by its Pactum Dairy division) and cereals starting this July. Freedom first began supplying PinLive with Weidendorf brand UHT milk last year . . . David Dobbin will retire from his position as chief executive of British dairy processor Dale Farm later this year. Nick Whelan, formerly of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, will take over the reins. (Farming Life, 5/18/16; North Queensland Register, 5/18/16)

    Vietnam’s Vinamilk paid $3 million for the remaining 30 percent of California-based Driftwood Dairy Holding Corp. It originally acquired 70 percent of Driftwood in 2013 . . . Switzerland’s Emmi (through its subsidiary Kaiku Corporación Alimentaria) increased its stake in Chilean dairy processor Surlat from 60 percent to 85 percent . . . Dubai-based investment fund Fajr Capital purchased Middle Eastern restaurant operator Cravia Group. Cravia operates 85 restaurants and is a franchisee for a number of U.S. brands, including Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Cinnabon and Carvel . . . Canada’s Gay Lea Foods Co-operative purchased fellow Ontario dairy Black River Cheese Co. . . . Arla Foods sold its juice subsidiary Rynkeby Foods to German fruit beverage processor Eckes-Granini Group. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Thanh Nien News, 5/24/16)

    Kraft Heinz is spending $100 million to expand its New Ulm, Minn., processed cheese plant, adding capacity to produce retail-size packages of Velveeta . . . Philippine burger chain Jollibee plans to ramp up its Vietnam presence, adding 20 new units across the nation by 2020, putting the total number of Vietnamese outlets at more than 80. (USDEC Vietnam office; Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/20/16)


    Dairygold, TINE strengthen partnership with new cheese plant: Ireland’s Dairygold Food Ingredients and Norway’s TINE are building a Jarlsberg cheese line alongside Dairygold’s existing specialty cheese plant in Mogeely, County Cork. Dairygold has been manufacturing Jarlsberg cheese for TINE for more than a decade, but the new project will enhance the partnership. The line will produce 10,000 tons per year, about equal to TINE’s current annual Jarlsberg export volume. The companies expect the new operation to begin production in 2019. (Agriland, 5/27/16;, 5/27/16)

    Cambodian dairy manufacturer starts up: Angkor Dairy Products, the Cambodian joint venture between Vietnam’s Vinamilk and Cambodia’s BPC Trading, officially opened its new $23 million manufacturing facility in Phnom Penh last week. Initially, the plant will produce up to 19 million liters of UHT milk and milk drinks, 80 million cans of sweetened condensed milk and 64 million cups of yogurt per year. By 2024, the partners expect to double fluid capacity and triple yogurt output. Angkor plans to distribute domestically but also target export markets in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and the Middle East. (Khmer Times, 5/26/16; Phnom Penh Post, 5/26/16)

    Mexico’s Grupo Lala paid $246 million to acquire Laguna Dairy’s branded dairy business in the United States, including three production plants and five brands. Lala originally spun-off its Borden Dairy business to create Durango, Mexico-based Laguna in 2013 . . . Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and its Mexican bottler Coca-Cola Femsa paid $575 million to purchase Unilever’s Latin American soy beverage business. Each company will own 50 percent . . . Nestlé Health Science formed a strategic alliance with France’s DBV Technologies to develop and market a patch-test tool to diagnose Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy in children . . . Canada’s MTY Food Group paid $300 million for Arizona-based restaurant franchiser Kahala Brands, the owner of the Coldstone Creamery, Blimpie and Taco Time concepts. (Company reports; Wall Street Journal, 6/1/16; Bloomberg, 5/25/16)

    Ukraine’s Milk Alliance Group is targeting the Middle East and North Africa (Algeria in particular) to expand its cheese exports. The company shipped test samples of cheese to the UAE in April and has been exporting butter and dried products to the region for some time . . . Kuwait-based Kharafi Global plans to open 25 Arby’s restaurants in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over the next seven years. Kharafi is also the Middle Eastern franchisee for Johnny Rockets restaurants . . . Valio plans to close its Tampere, Finland, cheese and specialty milk plant due to the challenging ongoing market conditions . . . Starbucks plans to open a 30,000-sq.-ft. Starbucks Roastery and Reserve Tasting Room in Shanghai in 2017, only its second such showcase store worldwide. It plans to open 500 regular stores per year in China through 2019. (USDEC Middle East office;, 3/31/16; Seattle Times, 5/27/16; Interfax-Ukraine, 5/27/16)

    Three co-ops plan new cheese plant in Michigan: Foremost Farms, Dairy Farmers of America and Michigan Milk Producers Association are exploring joint ownership of a major cheese processing plant in Michigan. The companies cite rising milk output in Michigan coupled with insufficient processing capacity in the region, as well as the state’s geographic advantages to serve both U.S. and export markets, as the impetus for the venture. The facility would manufacture up to 100,000 tons of American-style cheese annually. Foremost said no decision has been made on whether the partnership would build a new facility or retrofit an existing operation. (Company reports; Brownfield Ag News, 6/2/16)

    FrieslandCampina looks to make Thailand an export hub: FrieslandCampina plans to make Thailand its export hub in Southeast Asia. CEO Roelof Joosten said the nation was particularly well-placed to serve emerging markets like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Asia accounts for about 40 percent of FrieslandCampina’s total revenue, and Joosten said he expects that to rise to 50 percent over the next five years. (The Nation, 6/8/16)

    Food Union begins construction in China: Latvia’s Food Union began construction on two dairy manufacturing plants in China at a total estimated cost of €200 million (about US$227 million). The company revealed few details about the facilities, other than noting that it expected to open them in 2017 and that cheese was one of the products it planned to make. Although it is a full line dairy processor, Food Union’s major product is ice cream, which the company began exporting to China in spring 2015. (The Baltic Course, 6/3/16; Baltic News Service, 4/26/16)

    Fonterra farmers increasingly go digital: Fonterra Co-operative Group’s member farmers are increasingly migrating to mobile apps to run their businesses and connect with the co-op. Fonterra reports 13,000 unique downloads of its three apps and estimates the number of users has doubled over the past year, as farmers seek to take advantage of technologies that create efficiencies and, therefore, improve margins and competitiveness. The apps are: On Farm (which provides information on milk production, quality and collection times); My Co-op (which provides company news); and Monthly Plant Check (a pilot app that digitizes a process formerly governed by a weighty manual). (Company reports)

    Israeli investment firm Green Lantern Group acquired a 49 percent stake in Israel’s fourth largest dairy processor Gad Dairy, with an eye to expand the business in Europe and the United States . . . Lino Saputo Jr. said Saputo is looking for a cheese acquisition in Brazil “that would allow us to become a consolidator” in the nation’s highly fragmented cheese market . . . The ownership of Kuwait Food Co. (Americana) scrapped plans to sell a majority stake in the company to a Gulf-based consortium. (USDEC Middle East office; Globes, 6/8/16; Financial Post, 6/2/16; Reuters, 6/2/16)

    Fonterra officially opened its slice-on-slice cheese expansion at its Eltham, North Island, facility. Eltham’s total capacity is 90,000 tons of cheese per year. The plant’s recent expansions are part of the co-op’s strategy to diversify and reduce dependency on WMP and capture growth opportunities in the cheese space . . . Mondelez International broke ground on a new global research, development and quality site in Poland. The facility, expected to open in the first quarter of 2017, will support new product development and technologies for the company’s many confectionery brands. (Company reports;, 6/8/16)

    Fonterra doubling lactose production at Edgecumbe, plans to cut imports: Fonterra Co-operative Group is spending NZ$8 million on new filtration technology to double lactose output at its Edgecumbe, North Island, processing plant. The investment will enable lactose recovery from the facility’s waste stream. Fonterra uses lactose to standardize milk powder and has earmarked the Edgecumbe product for a new dryer at its Lichfield, North Island, plant, which it expects to open soon. The co-op expects the project to reduce its dependence on imported lactose. (Company reports)

    Lactalis agreed to purchase fellow French cheesemaker Graindorge based in Livarot, Normandy. (Culture, 6/13/16)

    Dairy Farmers of America is expanding its Cass City, Mich., milk plant. The facility currently processes cream, condensed whole milk and condensed skim milk and is situated to supply both domestic and global customers, the company said . . . Latvia’s Food Union shipped its first load of dairy products (7 tons of ice cream) to Iraq. The company says it has negotiated deals to soon begin shipping 20 tons of dairy per month to Iraq as part of its plans to expand operations in the Middle East and Asia . . . Citing softening economic conditions, Saudi Arabian dairy and food processor Almarai reduced planned capital spending from an average of about $1.1 billion annually to $773 million through 2021 . . . New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products appointed independent director Brent Taylor as interim managing director while it finds a replacement for current chief Rod Quin, who earlier announced he was stepping down from the position. (, 6/16/16; The Baltic Course, 6/14/16; The National, 6/9/15; The Bullvine, 6/6/16)

    Fonterra lactose plant to cut U.S. lactose exports; co-op shuffles management: Fonterra Co-operative Group’s new Edgecumbe, North Island, lactose facility will be able to capture an additional 38 tons of lactose per day or just under 14,000 tons a year when operated year-round. The project is aimed at reducing lactose imports. The United States shipped nearly 55,000 tons of lactose to New Zealand in 2015, about 15 percent of total U.S. lactose exports, making it our No. 2 market behind China. Separately, Fonterra created a new consumer and foodservice unit and named Jaqueline Chow its COO. Judith Swales, previously managing director, Oceania, takes over Chow’s old post as COO, velocity and innovation. Kelvin Wickham, managing director of global ingredients, takes on the additional role of COO NZMP. (USDEC staff;, 6/15/16)

    Wal-Mart, FrieslandCampina plot Chinese e-commerce strategies: Wal-Mart sold its e-commerce platform Yihaodian to the nation’s No. 2 e-commerce firm in exchange for a 5 percent stake in the Chinese online seller. The deal keeps Wal-Mart in the Chinese e-commerce sector and gives it access to’s nationwide logistics and warehousing networks, while reducing its exposure to what has become a hypercompetitive channel. Yihaodian’s niche has been grocery products, but competition has intensified over the past year as local Chinese retailers and start-ups have entered the sector marketing both domestic and imported food and beverage products. FrieslandCampina signed a deal with Chinese retailer Suning Commerce Group to target China’s rural regions with FrieslandCampina products. The regions’ consumers typically lag behind their urban counterparts in terms of nutrition, diet and health knowledge. FrieslandCampina plans to organize seminars on the relationship between diet and health and mother and baby care in rural areas, and commission 20 nutritionists to provide advice in Suning brick-and-mortar stores. Suning plans to build an e-commerce platform and distribution network dedicated to delivering products to rural areas. (Reuters, 6/21/16; China Daily, 6/21/16; Wall Street Journal, 6/20/16)

    Just weeks after scrapping plans to sell the company to Gulf-based consortium Adeptio, Kuwait Food Co. (Americana) went ahead and did just that. Adeptio expects to pay $2.4 billion for the food group. (USDEC Middle East office)

    Arla Foods Ingredients opened its 40 million dairy protein hydrolysates plant in Nr. Vium, Denmark. The plant can manufacture up to 4,000 tons of whey and casein hydrolysates annually for infant, clinical and sports nutrition products . . . Eight months after its previous franchisee closed up shop, Burger King Corp. reentered Costa Rica with a new business partner, JV de Centroamérica. The first BK restaurant opened last week in San José, and the companies plan to add nine more in the coming months . . . Kuwaiti foodservice operator Kharafi Global signed a franchise deal with Arby’s Restaurant Group to open 25 Arby’s units in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. . . Agropur officially opened its new C$100-million headquarters (about US$78 million) in Longueuil, Quebec . . . Scotland’s Graham’s The Family Dairy created a new international business manager position to help the manufacturer capitalize on what it calls “the huge potential” of overseas markets . . . FrieslandCampina secured a €150 million loan (about US$169 million) from the European Investment Bank to fund R&D activities primarily at its Wageningen, Netherlands, innovation center. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Daily Record, 6/22/16; The Tico Times, 6/16/16)

    Wendy’s branches into Brazil, Saudi Arabia: Wendy’s continued an international expansion push, securing deals to open its first Brazilian outlets next month and its first Saudi Arabian location in spring 2017. In Brazil, the company is working with U.S. franchisee Starboard Group and Brazilian restaurant investment group Infinity Service. They plan to expand throughout South America’s most populous nation but did not provide a timetable. In Saudi Arabia, the company is working with Alghanim Industries. Alghanim owns rights to the Wendy’s name across the Middle East and North Africa and already operates 17 outlets there. (USDEC Middle East office; Columbus Dispatch, 6/27/16)

    The management team from dairy ingredient processor Milk Specialties Global bought out the company from Kainos Capital in a partnership with U.S. private equity firm American Securities . . . Danone is seeking to purchase a minority stake in French dairy and food company Michel et Augustin. (Company reports)

    Want Want China, as part of its partnership with Japan’s Morinaga Milk, opened a $75 million yogurt and refrigerated dessert plant in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province . . . Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Tip Top ice cream subsidiary is testing online sales of 2-liter ice cream tubs in China through Alibaba Group’s Tmall. China’s Zhuhai Ice Technology will handle distribution . . . Fonterra’s Stirling, South Island, manufacturing plant broke a record by producing 50,000 tons of cheese over the 2015/16 season. The facility typically makes 30,000-40,000 tons annually . . . UAE-based importer/distributor Iftin General Trading is expanding its warehouse and packaging facilities in the Hamriyah Free Zone. Iftin specializes in milk powder products . . . Australian Consolidated Milk (ACM) is looking for more organic milk suppliers to meet rising domestic and export demand. ACM markets fresh milk domestically and UHT milk overseas . . . New Jersey-based cheese importer/distributor Arthur Schuman changed its name to Schuman Cheese. (USDEC China office; USDEC Middle East office; Company reports;, 6/24/16; The Weekly Times, 6/23/16)

    July 2016.jpg

    France’s Sodiaal became the latest in a string of dairy processors looking to take advantage of the promise of stronger returns from organic dairy. The co-op plans to triple organic milk production collection to 155,000 tons by 2020, channeling the additional output to its Nutribio and Candia operations. Nutribio would use the milk in infant formula for EU and export markets; Candia would process drinking milk for the domestic and European markets. In recent weeks, Australian Consolidated Milk, Switzerland’s Emmi and New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group have all made moves to expand their organic profiles. (Company reports)

    FrieslandCampina acquired 51 percent of Pakistan’s second largest dairy processor Engro Foods Ltd. The company said it expects to benefit from the country’s conversion from loose milk to packaged as urbanization and middle class expansion drive demand for higher-quality dairy. Only 10 percent of Pakistani milk trade is currently packaged. Friesland Campina originally announced its intention to acquire Engro in March. (Company reports)

    Mexico’s Grupo Lala purchased a dairy processing plant in San Ramón, Costa Rica, and formed a strategic alliance with Costa Rica’s Florida Ice and Farm Co. (Fifco). Under the agreement, Fifco subsidiaries Coopeleche and Florida Bebidas will supply Lala milk and distribute the Lala brand, respectively . . . Danone agreed to pay $10.4 billion for U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave Foods . . . Kuwaiti food conglomerate Mezzan Holding purchased a 70 percent stake in Saudi Arabian baked goods company Al Safi Food. Al Safi Dairy and Al Safi Danone are not part of the deal. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Q Costa Rica, 7/7/16; Wall Street Journal, 7/7/16)

    Milkiland-Ukraine reportedly signed a contract to begin delivery of “dry dairy products” to China. The company released no further details of the agreement . . . Pakistani textile manufacturer Interloop is entering the dairy processing sector via its subsidiary Interloop Dairies Ltd. It has already spent $20 million to build a dairy farm and now plans to erect a processing plant and launch its own milk brand new year. Like FrieslandCampina, it hopes to take advantage of projected growth in the nation’s packaged milk market. (The Express Tribune, 7/5/16; Interfax-Ukraine, 7/1/16)

    Nature One Dairy and Au Lait Australia are building a vertically integrated joint venture dairy processing plant in Toowoomba, Queensland. The partners expect the A$35 million first phase (about US$26 million) will begin producing infant formula by April 2017. Phase 2 would add UHT milk, fresh milk and other products, some of which the new company, Nature One Dairy Toowoomba, would ship by air, as well as a dairy farm. The company says it is already negotiating supply agreements for China and the Asia-Pacific. (The Northern Star, 7/11/16)

    UAE dairy and beverage processor National Food Products Co. took itself off the market after bidders (including Saudi Arabia’s Almarai) questioned the company’s expansion plans (it broke ground on a $400-million “mega facility” in Abu Dhabi earlier this year to produce water and other products) . . . China-based Ausnutria Dairy purchased Hunan Mornring Foodstuff, which owns land and an industrial building adjacent to Ausnutria’s Changsha City, Hunan Province, manufacturing site. Ausnutria plans to expand its Changsha City pediatric nutrition operations . . . Florida-based restaurateur Bloomin’ Brands reportedly sold its Korean business for $49 million to South Korean private equity firm SkyLake Investment. Bloomin’ Brands operates 74 Outback Steakhouse locations in South Korea. (USDEC Middle East office; Infocast News, 7/12/16; Tampa Bay Business Journal, 7/11/16; Nation’s Restaurant News, 7/11/16)

    U.S. investment firm KKR is putting $78 million into New Delhi-based dairy processor Kwality Ltd. Kwality plans to use the funds to strengthen its milk procurement infrastructure and increase processing capacity . . . South Australian dairy processor Golden North expects to double the volume of fresh milk it is air-shipping to Shanghai to 6,000 liters/week and begin exporting ice cream to China as well . . . Andy Macleod, CEO of Pengxin New Zealand Farm Group resigned effective July 8. The company is searching for a new chief. (Company reports; Economic Times, 7/13/16; ABC Radio, 7/13/16)

    Arla Foods launches higher-priced milk to benefit UK farmers: Grocery shoppers willing to pay extra to help struggling UK dairy farmers can now do so with Arla Farmers Milk. A four-pint container will sell for $1.58, compared to $1.25 for regular store brand milk. The extra 33 cents (or 25 pence) will be directed to the farmers of Arla Foods. The launch stems from research showing almost two-thirds of consumers would pay more for dairy products if they know the extra money goes back to farmers. (AgriLand)

    Yogurt-maker Dannon is looking at ways to make its products less sweet. In the latest industry response to rising concerns about excessive sugar consumption, the company is working with the American Heart Association and other health groups to find ways to reduce sugar, executives said at press conference last week. Dannon had already cut the sweetener in most of its products to 23 grams or less per six-ounce serving. (Reuters)

    Coca-Cola is concluding the acquisition of dairy products maker Laticinios Verde Campo in Minas Gerais, Brazil, as part of its strategy to expand into other products including juice, tea and mineral water—and now milk… Beijing Sanyuan Foods Co Ltd, one of China's leading dairy producers, plans to purchase a majority ownership in Crowley Properties Ltd, a Vancouver-based company making dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, ice cream and butter for about $14.58 million… Schreiber Dynamix Dairies, a joint venture between American dairy major Schreiber Foods and the Indian dairy company Dynamix Dairies, has kick-started operations of its second food processing and packaging facility in Punjab, India. The facility will initially manufacture juice products… Emmi has acquired a 40 percent share package in Swiss dairy company Mittelland Molkerei from AZM Verwaltungs AG, increasing its overall stake to 100 percent of the company…. Australian Natural Proteins Ltd. has signed a deal with a Fijian-based family business to start an organic dairy farm in Fiji…. French dairy cooperative Sodiaal and national retailers’ cooperative Systeme U have signed a partnership agreement that offers a “fair compensation” deal for milk producers. Farmers will be paid a premium for supplying milk for Bleu-Blanc-Coeur products, which Sodiaal says ensures consumers have a supply of milk rich in omega 3 from animal feed… International Dispensing Corporation has announced a strategic sales and marketing alliance with Privatmolkerei Naarmann GmbH, an ultra-high temperature dairy in Germany. (Bloomberg, China Daily, Hindu Business Line, FoodBev Media, The Fiji Times, DairyReporter)

    O-AT-KA Milk Products has announced the completion of a 200,000 square foot warehouse and material handling facility and 35,000 square foot equipment room at its Batavia, N.Y., facility, costing $21 million. The new areas will add about 24 jobs and greatly expand the facility’s capacity... India's largest private dairy firm by revenues Kwality Ltd has raised $77.4 million from alternative investment giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co Ltd in a structured finance transaction to boost its consumer facing business... Seprod Limited has added a new condensed milk to the market and will in short order put out a non-dairy sweetener, on the heels of investments geared towards increasing its market share both locally and overseas… Egyptian dairy company Arabian Food Industries Co (Domty) is planning to invest $27 million in 2016-17 to fund expansion and increase production capacity…. Vietnamese dairy firm Vinamilk is now valued at about $8 billion, its highest level since 2007. Vinamilk showed some of its products at the recent Summer Fancy Food Show in the United States and then announced it will sell condensed milk and creamer products in supermarkets in Arizona and California. (The Dairy News, Dairy News of India, Jamaica Gleaner, Reuters, Vietnam News)

    New Zealand’s Mataura Valley Milk plans to start construction in October on a NZ$200 million (about US$140 million) manufacturing plant for infant formula, UHT cream and, to a lesser extent, skim milk powder. Chinese state-owned China Animal Husbandry Group is backing the project and will hold a 72 percent stake in the facility, to be built north of Gore on the South Island. Product is earmarked for China and other parts of Asia, although Mataura said it did not want to be totally dependent on one region. The company originally planned the facility in 2008, but ran into trouble lining up investors. (, 7/28/16)

    Yili Group and South Korea’s Yonsei Milk Co. signed a cooperation agreement. The companies did not release details, but the deal is thought to at least include provisions for Yili to distribute Yonsei liquid milk and could involve creating a new joint venture . . . Australian dairy and food manufacturer Beston Global Food and South Korean noodle giant Nongshim Group are reportedly discussing a deal for Nongshim to distribute Beston products in Korea . . . McDonald’s is looking to sell 20-year franchise rights to stores in Malaysia and Singapore as it revamps its Asian ownership model away from company-owned stores. It currently operates about 120 outlets in Singapore and 250 in Malaysia. (USDEC China office; Financial Review, 7/25/16; Bloomberg, 7/25/16)

    New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products named Toni Brendish as its new CEO. Brendish, who formerly held managing director positions with Danone in Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, will take over September 5 . . . Maharashtra, India-based Prabhat Dairy made its first shipment of sweetened condensed milk to the Middle East and is targeting the region to expand exports into cheese, ghee, milk powder and other products . . . German contract manufacturer SternMaid is building a plant to produce and store powdered sport nutrition food supplements and protein blends adjacent to its Wittenburg, Germany, blending/packing facility. (USDEC Middle East office; BusinessDesk, 7/28/16;, 7/27/16)

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    Australia’s Midfield Group formed a joint venture with Louis Dreyfus Company Asia to complete construction on Midfield’s Penola, South Australia, dairy manufacturing plant, then develop and manage the business. Midfield originally announced the plant in 2015 with an estimated completion date this year. The company now says it expects the joint venture facility to start operations in July 2017. The plant will manufacture dairy powders and fats for the domestic and international markets, with the capacity to handle about 225,000 tons of raw milk per day. (Company reports)

    Woolworths’ loss forces Murray Goulburn to seek new buyers: Come 2017, Australia’s Murray Goulburn Cooperative (MG) will be forced to seek new markets for cheese, UHT milk, adult milk powder and cream that it had been manufacturing under contract for retailer Woolworths’ private label. The company held onto Woolworths’ private label contracts for shredded mozzarella and butter, but the retailer allocated the other products (worth A$108 million to MG) to Bega Cheese and Freedom Foods’ Pactum Dairy Group. Analysts expect MG will look to redirect the products to Asia and other export destinations. (Company news, Financial Review, 7/31/16)

    Bel Group plans to buy fellow French fruit and dairy processor MOM Group from owner LBO Group. Bel said the deal will help establish the company as a leader in single-serve healthy snacks. (, 8/1/16)

    Nestlé-owned Wyeth Nutrition opened its first BabyNes boutique in Hong Kong. Similar in concept to a Keurig coffee maker, the BabyNes system takes pods of premeasured formula and adds water at a precise temperature . . . Restaurant Brands International is partnering with a group of investors to develop its Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut chain in the Philippines . . .  American Dairy Queen Corp. signed a deal with Trinidad & Tobago-based Royal Treats Ltd. to develop new DQ Grill & Chill and DQ Treat stores on several Caribbean Islands: Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and Trinidad & Tobago . . . DMI appointed Barb O’Brien to the newly created position of president. O’Brien will report to DMI CEO Tom Gallagher and will also maintain her role as president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy . . . Darigold plans to move its Seattle headquarters from Rainier Ave. to 6th Ave. in May 2017. (USDEC China office; Company reports; The Canadian Press; 7/28/16)

    Philippine food importer/trader/manufacturer Sysu International signed a deal with SODIAAL subsidiary Regilait to import and market four varieties of Regilait brand adult skimmed milk powder targeting specific nutritional needs: Calorie Control, Vitamins Plus, Bone Nutrition and Low Fat . . . Dutch food research organization NIZO named Villaume Kal the new CEO, replacing Ad Juriaanse, who retired in July. (Company reports; Business Mirror, 8/4/16)

    Yashili New Zealand Dairy agreed to sell as much as NZ$18.7 million (about US$13.6 million) of base milk powder to Danone through the end of 2016. Danone owns a 25 percent stake in Yashili New Zealand, a joint venture between China’s Yashili International and Mengniu Dairy . . . China’s Junlebao Dairy Co. opened a new milk powder plant near its Shijiazhuang headquarters in Hebei Province. The plant’s capacity is 60,000 tons per year . . . Northern Ireland’s Dale Farm spent £7 million (about US$9.2 million) to expand cheddar manufacturing and packaging at its Dunmanbridge plant in County Tyrone. The company expects the investment to increase both domestic and export sales . . . Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies is switching to seasonal production at its Banbridge milk powder manufacturing plant, acquired in May from Fane Valley. To operate full-time, the plant would require significant investment to meet the product specifications required by export markets, Lakeland said, and the company has other investment priorities . . . FrieslandCampina Vietnam has begun shipping plain and flavored pasteurized milk to Hong Kong. Volumes and buyers were unspecified . . . New Zealand’s Synlait Milk Ltd. and A2 Milk Co. extended their partnership agreement to allow scale-up to meet anticipated rising demand over the mid-term. Synlait produces a2 Platinum brand infant formula for A2 for sale in China, Australia and New Zealand . . . Fonterra Australia is spending A$6.2 million (about US$4.7 million) to expand cold storage capacity at its Cobden, Victoria, spreads plant. (USDEC China office; USDEC Vietnam office; Company news; New Zealand Herald, 8/23/16; Agriland, 8/20/16; The Irish News, 8/18/16)

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    Arla targets milk-based beverage market: Arla Foods plans to triple global sales of milk-based beverages from €230 million in 2015 to €690 million (about US$770 million) by 2020. The company is targeting “healthier alternatives based on milk and natural ingredients,” including a milk-and-fruit drink, a milk-and-tea drink, and a dairy-protein-enhanced energy drink. Outside of Europe, it plans to test the beverages in Singapore and the UAE before rolling out to broader regions. (Company reports)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group is touting supply chain improvements that have allowed the company to drastically cut delivery times for UHT milk to mainland China. The co-op says it streamlined every aspect of the supply chain, from production to shipping to customs clearance to eliminate delays, ultimately reducing the overall time needed to move product to the Chinese mainland from 100 days to 34 days. (Company reports)

    Michael Dykes to take over as IDFA CEO in 2017: The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) named Michael Dykes to take over as CEO when Connie Tipton retires at the end of this year. Dykes has an extensive background in leading and executing agricultural government affairs policies and strategies. He will work in transition with Tipton beginning in October. (IDFA)

    Australian investment firm Blue River Group purchased Fonterra Australia’s Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, milk, yogurt and cream manufacturing site and its Riverina Fresh brand. (Company reports)

    Chobani has begun exporting its regular Greek yogurt and its Flip brand to 33 cities in Mexico . . . Private label infant formula supplier Perrigo signed a contract manufacturing deal with Israel’s largest retail chain Shufersal. Perrigo will make and export infant formula under the Shufersal Baby label for sale at the retailer’s more than 280 stores . . . Bloomin’ Brands, owner of Outback Steakhouse and other restaurant names, announced plans to expand its presence in South America, likely targeting metropolitan areas in Argentina, Brazil and Chile . . . UAE-based supermarket chain ZOOM, part of Emirates National Oil Co., plans to open 30 new stores per year through 2025 as part of a regional expansion plan including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. (USDEC Middle East office;, 8/30/16; Jerusalem Post, 8/29/16; Tampa Bay Times, 8/25/16)

    Minnesota-based Milk Specialties Global purchased Saputo’s whey manufacturing plant in Monroe, Wis. The company said the deal will help expand whey protein ingredient sales and supports its ongoing commitment to its whey suppliers. (Company reports)

    Troubled Australian dairy co-op Murray Goulburn (MG) is reexamining the Milk Supply Support Package (MSSP) scheme it implemented earlier this year to help members cope with its retroactive cut to farm-gate milk prices in April. The MSSP essentially boosted payouts for the 2015/16 year with the understanding that MG would dock paychecks for up to three years to recover the monies. However, MG did not account for farmers leaving the co-op. Since the cuts, farmers representing nearly 10 percent of the co-op’s milk supply have jumped ship for alternate processors, citing loss of trust in the company or simply better offers elsewhere. The defections mean that the remaining members are saddled with larger repayments—a state of affairs that could worsen should more members run for the exits. (Company reports; The Australian, 9/7/16; ABC News, 9/6/16; The Advertiser, 9/5/16)

    Chilean food company Watt’s purchased Danone Chile S.A. The deal includes a processing plant in Chillan, the Calán brand and a licensing agreement that will see Watt’s produce products under the Activia and Danone labels… Vietnam’s Vinamilk, which already owns California’s Driftwood Dairy, says it is in talks to buy a second U.S. dairy company and is keeping its eyes open for additional acquisitions outside Vietnam… Japanese retail groups FamilyMart and Uny Group Holdings merged their operations under a joint holding company, FamilyMart Uny Holdings. The new company will close about 1,000 of Uny’s Circle K and Sunkus c-stores and relabel others under the FamilyMart name… Chinese investment firm Primavera Capital and Ant Financial (an affiliate of Alibaba Group) are paying $410 million and $50 million, respectively, for stakes in Yum Brands’ China division, which the restaurant operator is in the process of spinning off…. Private equity firms Carlyle Group and TPG Capital are teaming with Chinese state-owned CITIC Group and Beijing Capital Agribusiness Group to bid on more than 2,300 company-owned McDonald’s stores in China and Hong Kong in a deal worth an estimated $2 billion-$3 billion. Carlyle is also reportedly interested in buying McDonald’s 268 stores in South Korea in a joint venture with Maeil Dairy Industry. (USDEC Japan office; USDEC China office;, 9/8/16; Bloomberg, 9/7/16; Reuters, 9/2/16)

    Algerian dairy processor Tchin Lait, a unit of French dairy co-op Sodiaal’s Candia Group, opened a new UHT milk manufacturing site in Algiers to produce small-format carton packs of milk and milk-based beverages . . . Dubai-based tea and sandwich shop Filli Café plans to expand across the Middle East, starting with 30 outlets in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar . . . Dean Foods announced that Executive VP and COO Ralph Scozzafava will take over as CEO on January 1, 2017, when Gregg Tanner steps down. (Company reports)

    Australia’s Camperdown Dairy International placed on hold plans to build or buy a series of dairy farms and erect an A$200-million (about US$150-million) milk powder facility in Camperdown, Victoria. Camperdown was aiming to supply export markets from the facility, particularly China. Management cited evolving Chinese import regulations as one of the reasons for the pullback, saying it was prudent to step away from the scheme until they had a “clearer view” of Chinese regulatory changes coming down the pike. Camperdown Dairy International is unrelated to Camperdown Dairy, which had its export license to China suspended last month over allegations of substandard product quality. (ABC Rural, 9/12/16)

    Ireland’s Ornua officially opened its new “Kerrygold Park” butter manufacturing and packaging facility in Mitchelstown. Ornua plans to use the plant and its “Green to Gold” innovation center as a showcase for international buyers. The facility can produce 50,000 tons of butter per year. (Agriland, 9/14/16)

    U.S. private equity firm Paine & Partners purchased a 35 percent stake in the UK’s largest independently owned dairy group Meadow Foods . . . UAE-based investment firm Food Capital acquired a stake in Saudi Arabian ice cream retailer Ice Cream Dana, backing Dana’s plan to add 27 new outlets (to its 20 existing stores) by 2019 . . . Brazilian conglomerate BRF is buying a 70 percent stake in FFM Further Processing, a Malaysian processed frozen meat manufacturer. The purchase is part of BRF’s effort to enhance its position in Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern halal food markets. (USDEC Middle East office;, 9/121/6)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group began receiving milk at its new 30-ton-per hour dryer at its Lichfield, North Island, facility this week . . . Fonterra Australia is spending A$4.3 million (about US$3.2 million) to expand cheesemaking capacity by 8,000 tons per year at its Wynyard, Tasmania, plant . . . Thailand’s state-run dairy processor Dairy Farming Promotion Organization (DFPO) is building an $18-$25-million manufacturing plant, with an eye toward expanding exports in China, Malaysia, Myanmar and Taiwan. Unlike its existing six facilities, the new plant will be a joint venture between private investors and dairy farmer suppliers . . . Wisconsin-based First Choice Ingredients (FCI) purchased a former biotech production facility in Menomonee Falls, Wis., and plans to convert it to ingredient processing. When fully operational in early 2017, the new plant will produce 4,500 tons of concentrated dairy flavors annually for sale here and abroad. (Company reports; Food Ingredients First, 9/14/16;, 9/8/16)

    New Zealand’s Synlait Milk is spending NZ$300 million (about US$220 million) over the next three years to double infant formula manufacturing capacity to 80,000 tons per year, expand packaging capabilities, upgrade infrastructure and increase value-added cream processing. Synlait said it expects Chinese regulations to moderate canned infant formula growth in 2017, but Managing Director John Penno said the company is well positioned to deal with China’s shifting regulatory requirements. The company reported a record net profit for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2016, driven by a fourfold increase in canned infant formula volume. (Otago Daily Times, 9/20/16; Dow Jones Newswires, 9/18/16)

    Silo collapse to impede Fonterra Edendale production: A 250,000-liter milk silo collapsed at Fonterra’s Edendale site on the South Island, damaging an overhead gantry carrying large steam pipes and halting portions of production. About 100 farmers were forced to dump milk while Fonterra carried out repairs to bring damaged areas of the plant back online. The silo accounted for less than 10 percent of the facility’s raw milk capacity. While most of the site was up and running within days, Fonterra said it could take “a number of weeks” before one of Edendale’s milk powder plants and a milk protein concentrate line were producing again. (Company reports; Otago Daily Times, 9/19/16;, 9/16/16)

    Michigan-based Continental Dairy Facilities, a subsidiary of Select Milk Producers, completed a $50-million expansion at its Coopersville, Mich., manufacturing plant to add butter and buttermilk powder capacity . . . Germany’s Müller earmarked £100 million (about US$130 million) to expand liquid milk, dairy ingredients and chilled yogurt and dessert operations in the UK . . . Sun Yiping, CEO of China’s Mengniu Dairy, resigned. The company named Mingfang Lu, chairman of Mengniu subsidiary Yashili International Holdings, as the new CEO and executive director . . . Danone is reportedly withdrawing its Dumex infant formula brand from Vietnam due to declining market share . . . NZ Farming Systems Uruguay is severing the last of its ties with New Zealand by shifting the business’s registration from Auckland to Uruguay. The New Zealand-founded milk producer, owned by Singapore’s Olam International since 2012, has been struggling with reduced milk prices and poor weather . . . Canada’s Scotsburn Ice Cream Co. is closing its St. John’s, newfoundland and Labrador, manufacturing plant. (Company reports; AgriHQ, 9/20/16; The Courier, 9/19/16; Food Business News, 9/16/16;, 9/15/16;, 9/15/16)

    New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products and Hong Kong-based Ausnutria are forming an infant formula joint venture called Pure Nutrition Ltd. Ausnutria will contribute NZ$4.5 million plus an NZ$32 million loan, while Westland provides land at its Rolleston, South Island, site where Pure Nutrition will build a mixing-blending plant. The agreement calls for Westland providing a minimum of 5,000 tons of dairy-based powders per year. Pure Nutrition plans to target rising demand in China and other export markets once the facility is completed late next year. (, 9/29/16)

    Japan’s Morinaga Milk Industry and Pakistani conglomerate ICI Pakistan Ltd. plan to build a $45 million infant formula manufacturing plant in Karachi, Pakistan. The two companies, together with Unibrands Private Ltd., have been importing Morinaga products through their joint venture NutriCo Pakistan since 2014. They estimate the new plant will go online in 2018. (Daily Times, 9/28/16)

    China Evergrande Group sold its Hengda Dairy business for an estimated $45 million to an unnamed buyer . . . UAE-based MSA Holdings purchased the South African operations of McDonald’s from South African franchisee Shanduka Group. (USDEC Middle East Office; Dow Jones Newswires, 9/27/16)

    Fonterra Brands (Malaysia) plans to invest nearly US$5 million to increase capacity at its Susamas facility at Shah Alam, Malaysia. The plant currently ships 30,000 tons of milk powder products per year to domestic and export markets. . . Castelli America, the U.S. subsidiary of Italy’s Nuova Castelli Group, opened its first U.S. cheese factory with the takeover of the former Empire Specialty Cheese plant in Ashville, N.Y. . . . The board of Yum Brands approved the planned spin-off of the company’s China unit, set for the end of October . . . UK manufacturer/importer Key Food Ingredients entered receivership. Administrators are looking to sell the business. (Wall Street Journal, 9/26/16;, 9/26/16; The Star (Malaysia), 9/23/16; WBFO, 9/20/16)

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    Australia’s Murray Goulburn (MG) is reevaluating a plan to build a nutritional products plant at its Koroit, Victoria, manufacturing site. MG says no final decision has been made, but The Australian reports the company will still build the facility but likely shift the location to its Laverton, Victoria, site on the outskirts of Melbourne. MG reportedly lost a significant number of suppliers in the Koroit region in the fallout related to its retroactive farmgate milk price cut earlier this year. (Company news; The Australian, 10/6/16)

    Michigan Milk Producers Association purchased a cheese manufacturing facility in Middlebury, Ind., owned by Guggisberg Cheese Co. The Guggisberg Deutsch Käse Haus specializes in colby production but also makes cheddar and jack. (Company news)

    Mengniu Dairy’s new CEO Lu Minfang said the company plans expand its relationship with Danone, particularly in the areas of infant formula and pasteurized milk, as part of its effort to boost profitability . . . Virginia-based Elevation Burger signed a deal with franchisee Essam Abu El Hassan that will see 20 Elevation Burger outlets opened across Egypt, starting with Cairo later this year. (USDEC Middle East office; Company news; South China Morning Post, 10/3/16)

    Nestlé opened a new US$250-million children’s nutrition plant in Ocotlan, Jalisco, Mexico—its largest children’s nutrition investment worldwide for the past decade. The company hopes to export about 40 percent of the plant’s output to other countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and elsewhere. It plans to buy 575,000 tons of fresh milk and 365 million liters of whey per year from regional dairy suppliers. It did not say whether it would also be importing dairy ingredients. (Company reports)

    Chinese infant formula manufacturer Synutra International officially opened a €170 million (about US$188 million) nutritional products facility in Carhaix, France. The plant features two drying towers, one for WMP, the other for oil-wrapped whey protein powder. Each has an annual capacity of 45,000 tons, while the plant can also blend and package 60,000 tons per year of infant formula. (Company reports)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group created a new position to head up its China operations. Zhu Xiaojing, who had been managing director of Fonterra’s China business, is now CEO Greater China. Separately, Fonterra reopened a milk powder dryer at its South Island Edendale site that has been offline since a silo collapse in mid-September. The Edendale MPC plant damaged during the incident remains out of service—Fonterra expects to get it back online by late November. (USDEC China office; Company reports)

    Vietnam’s Vinamilk launched its own direct-to-consumer e-commerce site Customers who purchase online before 10:00 a.m. get same-day delivery. Anyone who places an order costing more than 300,000 dong (about US$13.45) gets free delivery. Vinamilk is looking to broaden its customer base while providing more convenient buying options. (USDEC Vietnam office)

    Australian dairy and food processor Freedom Foods Group and its Chinese partner Shenzhen JiaLiLe Food created a new company, Australia’s Own Dairy Company China, to market Freedom’s Australia’s Own dairy brand. Freedom, which is installing a new packaging line to meet rising demand for its Kid’s Milk fluid milk brand in Australia and China, will own a 10 percent stake in the company with an option to buy another 20 percent within three years. Freedom will maintain control of the Australia’s Own brand outside of China. (Food Business Review, 10/7/16)

    Ontario-based Gay Lea Foods Co-operative and ingredient manufacturer Vitalus Nutrition announced a joint venture to convert a Winnipeg egg processing plant to butter, cream and dry dairy ingredients production, including MPC. Most products would go toward domestic consumption, but the companies expect to market the MPC internationally as well. The plant should be fully operational by fall 2017. Separately, Gay Lea purchased Ontario butter-maker The Stirling Creamery and the Canadian government gave British Columbia-based Vitalus C$13.5 million in loans to help commercialize the company’s proprietary enzymatic process to manufacture galacto-oligosacharides. (Company reports;, 10/20/16; Winnipeg Free Press, 10/19/16;, 10/17/16)

    French dairy co-op Eurial is investing €135 million (about US$149 million) to double cheese capacity to 80,000 tons per year at its Herbignac Cheese Ingredients plant, which specializes in mozzarella . . . Dairy UK CEO Judith Bryans was elected the new president of the International Dairy Federation during this week’s World Dairy Summit in Rotterdam . . . French dairy co-op Sodiaal aims to double turnover from exports by 2020. The company said it will dedicate “a significant portion” of its annual €100 million investment budget toward developing products specifically for third-country markets. (Company reports; L’Usine Nouvelle, 10/18/16)

    China’s Yili Group purchased a 37-percent controlling interest in China’s largest organic milk processor Shengmu Organic Milk. The company is funding the acquisition by issuing $1.3 billion in new shares. Yili will spend about $675 million for Shengmu, and has earmarked $370 million to develop high-end products domestically and expand capacity for UHT yogurt, chilled yogurt, soy products, pasteurized milk and other plant-based beverages. An additional $80 million will go toward a dairy production line in New Zealand. Yili did not offer additional details on the New Zealand project. (South China Morning Post, 10/25/16)

    China’s Moon Lake Investments plans to start air-shipping fresh milk from Tasmania to Beijing and Ningbo. Moon Lake purchased Australia’s biggest dairy farm Van Dieman’s Land Co. (VDL) earlier this year, renaming it VDL Farms. The operation produces 7.7 million kgMS per year, but Moon Lake plans to increase output by 80 percent over the next five years, driven in part by demand from China. It aims to export 10 percent of its milk as fluid through the new channel. Australia’s Lion Dairy will process the milk under the VAN Milk label. Once the company established business in Beijing and Ningbo it plans to take the product to Shanghai, Hangzhou and other urban centers. (The Advocate, 10/26/16; Bloomberg, 10/25/16)

    Germany’s Hochdorf Group purchased a 51 percent stake in Switzerland’s Pharmalys Laboratories and Pharmalys Tunisia, and agreed to form a new joint venture called Pharmalys Africa. Hochdorf had been supplying Pharmalys, which markets infant nutrition products in 42 countries under the Primalac brand, with infant formula since 2008 . . . McDonald’s is reportedly selling 20-year franchise rights to its 120 Singaporean and 260 Malaysian stores to Saudi Arabian conglomerate Reza Group . . . Italian dairy company Sabelli acquired fellow Italian mozzarella maker Trevisanalat . . . Britain’s First Milk sold its CNP Professional sports nutrition business to UK-based The Protein Partners. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; FarmingUK, 10/26/16;, 10/19/16)

    After a 15-year absence from the market, Finland’s Valio began exporting infant formula to Russia under the Valio Baby name . . . German dairy manufacturer Hochwald Foods named Detlef Latka as its new CEO. (Company reports;, 10/20/16)

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    Ireland’s Ornua, in partnership with former MCT Dairies executive Denis Neville, purchased MCT’s CoreFX Ingredients division, including a powder ingredients plant in Orangeville, Ill. Ornua said it plans to invest in both the plant and a customer innovation center at CoreFX’s headquarters in Chicago. Ornua also operates ingredient manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia, Spain and the UK and called the purchase a “key milestone” in its U.S. expansion strategy. (Irish Times, 11/2/16; Irish Independent, 11/2/16)

    China’s Wahaha exploring Dean, other acquisitions: Hongsheng Beverage, a subsidiary of Chinese beverage company Wahaha Group, has reportedly approached several banks and private equity firms in preparation for a possible bid for Dean Foods and/or other acquisition targets. Analysts suggested Wahaha is looking to diversify products and geographies given declining domestic beverage revenues. (USDEC China office; Financial Times, 10/28/16; Dallas Business Journal, 10/28/16)

    PepsiCo, Ajinomoto and at least one other unnamed bidder are reportedly vying for a 33 percent stake in South African dairy and beverage processor Promasidor. The deal would give the winning bidder access to Promasidor’s extensive distribution network, reaching more than 30 African nations. The investment is another in a line of food industry mergers and acquisitions in recent years aiming to capitalize on expectations of African middle class expansion. (Reuters, 11/1/16)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group suspended an agreement with Chinese distributor Jiawai due to questions over Jiawai’s involvement in October’s expired milk powder repackaging scam. A former Jiawai employee allegedly sold Fonterra product that was eventually confiscated by authorities. The product in question was sold and resold multiple times, and it is unclear where in the chain Jiawai played a role. Fonterra said the transaction took place prior to Jiawai becoming an authorized dealer. (New Zealand Herald, 10/27/16)

    Indian food manufacturer and retailer Heritage Foods acquired the dairy business of Indian grocery and consumer goods retailer Reliance Retail. (Press Trust of India, 10/29/16)

    Fonterra accelerated plans to expand its Waitoa, North Island, UHT plant, adding a new NZ$12 million whipping cream line by February 2017. The new line’s output—an additional 40 million cartons annually—is earmarked for Chinese foodservice use . . . Vinamilk signed a deal with Thailand’s Top Most Enterprise Co. that will see Top Most distribute its dairy products, including UHT milk, in Thailand . . . Müller Milk & Ingredients is investing £60 million (about US$74 million) on a series of capacity and efficiency upgrades at five UK manufacturing facilities . . . Russian dairy company Lebedyanmolko is reportedly building a $24 million fluid milk processing plant in the Lipetsk region. The facility is slated to open in January 2017 . . . U.S.-based Wingstop signed a franchise deal with Colowing S.A. de C.V. that will see Colowing open 30 outlets in Colombia and Panama over the next five years. (The Dairy News, 11/2/16; Nation’s Restaurant News, 10/28/16; Bangkok Post, 10/24/16)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group is introducing a new “global food quality seal” called Trusted Goodness. The seal is essentially a marketing tool that the co-op claims attests to its focus on traceability, food safety and quality. It will debut on branded products in China, Malaysia and the United States over the coming months, followed by a global rollout. (Company reports)

    France’s Lactalis is investing US$32 million in its dairy operations in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The company plans to increase milk production by more than 500,000 tons/year, is moving its Brazilian headquarters from Sâo Paulo to the Rio Grande do Sol capital of Porto Alegre, and is increasing processing capacity for cheese, milk beverages and UHT milk. (Dairy Markets, 11/4/16)

    Japan’s Ajinomoto purchased a 20 percent stake in South Africa’s Promasidor. (Naija247, 11/8/16)

    Japan’s Meiji Holdings is investing ¥5 billion (about US$43 million) to expand functional yogurt capacity at its Toda plant north of Tokyo . . . Yum Brands completed the spinoff of Yum China Holdings, which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut brands in China. The newly independent company plans to add 600 new outlets per year in China and export its Mongolian hotpot chain to the rest of the world . . . Australian Dairy Farms Group and its primary Chinese customer Australian Lian He Pty signed a deal to develop a processing facility in Victoria to manufacture fresh milk for shipment to China. Australian Dairy Farms will first conduct a feasibility study. (Proactive Investor, 8/8/16;, 11/7/16; Bloomberg News, 11/1/16)

    China suspends export license of Aussie infant formula supplier: The Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) suspended the export license of Australia’s Viplus Dairy, which exports infant formula to China and bills itself as “nutritional milk powder specialists.” This is the second such suspension of an Australian dairy supplier in the last four months, amid heightened Chinese inspection procedures implemented over the past year. In August, CNCA suspended the accreditation of Australia’s Camperdown Dairy Co. over alleged quality issues. CNCA gave no reason for the Viplus suspension. The Australian government called for China to reinstate Viplus’s credentials, saying it inspected the company’s facilities and found they met all safety and quality standards. Camperdown has yet to regain entry to China, despite similar protestations from the government. (USDEC China office; Financial Review, 11/15/16)

    Tetra Pak is building a $110-million manufacturing plant near Ho Chi Minh City to capitalize on rising demand for demand for dairy- and fruit-based beverages across the Asia-Pacific region. The packaging company says the facility, its largest in the Asia-Pacific, will generate 20 billion packs per year. It expects to open the plant in the first quarter of 2019. Tetra Pak projects dairy- and fruit-based beverage consumption in the ASEAN bloc, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Asia and South Korea will rise 5.6 percent annually over the next three years. (Nikkei Asian Review, 11/15/16)

    Vietnam’s Kido Group opened a new $18 million manufacturing plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh. The facility will produce 9,000 tons of ice cream and 6,000 tons of yogurt annually, among other products . . . Puerto Rico’s Suiza Dairy is building a $30-million extended-shelf-life milk plant in Aguadilla to service domestic and export markets. The facility will specialize in high-value milk products with omega-3 acids, fiber, prebiotics and other nutritional additives . . . Paul van Heerwaarden will take over as CEO of Australia’s Bega Cheese when current chief executive Aidan Coleman retires at year’s end. Van Heerwaarden said the company plans to diversify its focus in Asia, expanding the business in Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand . . . PepsiCo is reportedly building a “baby food” plant adjacent to its Wimm-Bill-Dann dairy processing facility in Timashevsk, Russia . . . Nestlé opened a new $3.5 million UHT operation to manufacture dairy-based beverages at its factory in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka . . . Canada’s Agropur is rolling out a “Quality Milk” logo signifying all the milk and dairy ingredients in qualifying products were sourced domestically . . . Ireland’s Ornua is spending €10 million to expand Kerrygold butter production at its Ornua Deutschland plant in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany. (USDEC Vietnam office; Company reports; Reuters, 11/15/16;, 11/15/16;, 11/14/16; Financial Review, 11/14/16; Vietnamnet Bridge, 11/12/16;, 11/10/16)

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  

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