The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • USDEC's global dairy business year-in-review

    By Mark O'Keefe December 31, 2021

    We have assembled the important mergers, key acquisitions, joint ventures, new facilities, executive hires and marketing initiatives that made 2021 a remarkable year for global dairy business.

    What a remarkable year it was for global dairy business. 

    Paul Rogers of the U.S. Dairy Export Council knows. For more than 20 years, Rogers has monitored dozens of media outlets every weekday to extract the most important global dairy business developments, at home and abroad, for USDEC members.

    “One of the striking things about 2021 was the strong investment in dairy from companies around the world--both in their domestic markets as well as directly in key foreign markets," says Rogers. “Many of those investments in domestic capacity include an export component.”

    Rogers does these daily searches so USDEC members don't have to sort through a growing mountain of information themselves.

    He finds and distills the news U.S. dairy exporters need to know to succeed in the global dairy marketplace. This timely intelligence goes into USDEC's weekly, members-only newsletter, Global Dairy eBrief.

    As in years past, USDEC has aggregated 52 weeks of Rogers' media monitoring into one publicly accessible and searchable blog post we call the USDEC Global Dairy Business Year-in-Review.

    What follows is USDEC's curated summary of important global dairy business developments of 2021, presented in month-by-month chronological order.

    . January-3

    A2 Milk purchased a 75% stake in New Zealand dairy processor Mataura Valley Milk. Mataura manufactures milk powder products at a plant northeast of Invercargill on the South Island. A2 plans to spend A$112 million (about US$86 million) over the next two-three years to add blending and canning capabilities to the plant. The deal not only expands A2’s manufacturing capacity, but it also strengthens relationships in its key target market of China. China Animal Husbandry Group (CAHG) controls the remaining 25% of Mataura. CAHG is owned by China National Agriculture Development Group, the parent company of A2’s strategic partner in China: China State Farm Holdings Shanghai, a logistics and distribution company. A2 expects CAHG will also help the company with regulatory and market access issues in China. (Sydney Morning Herald, 12/24/20; BusinessDesk, 12/24/20)

    Prior to the New Year, France’s Lactalis purchased Agropur’s Canadian yogurt business Ultima Foods. The deal includes production plants in Granby, Quebec, and Delta, British Columbia. (FoodBev.com, 12/18/20)

    Uruguayan dairy exporter Conaprole is spending more than $10 million on a new headquarters in Montevideo. It expects to finish the project in 2023 . . . Fonterra global foodservice chief Grant Watson will take over as CEO of New Zealand milk processor Miraka in February. He replaces Richard Wyeth who announced his intention to resign in October . . . Lab-grown milk start-up TurtleTree Labs, headquartered in Singapore, secured $6.2 million in funding to accelerate the development of cell-based milk solutions. (Milkpoint, 12/23/20; Stuff.co.nz, 12/21/20; FoodBev.com, 12/18/20)

    Arla Foods is accelerating its e-commerce growth strategy by 3-5 years, increasing investments in its online presence and hiring more e-commerce expertise in sales and marketing across Europe. Its goal is to double European e-commerce sales to €600 million (about US$730 million) by 2025. (Company reports)

    Italian cheesemakers Agriform and Parmareggio (part of the Bonterre Group) completed their merger announced in late 2020. Combined revenues for the new entity are about €580 million (about US$707 million), about 30% from export markets . . . UK cheese exporter Somerdale International acquired the blended cheese business of Abergavenny Fine Foods (AFF). Somerdale said the acquisition (which includes the transfer of AFF’s blended cheese processing assets, brands and trademarks) and will allow the company to grow and develop its portfolio of blended cheeses, particularly for international markets . . . FrieslandCampina is exploring the sale of its 50% stake in Thai yogurt maker Betagen for as much as $500 million. Its joint venture partner, the Attasakulchi family which founded the company in 1991, has the right of first refusal. FrieslandCampina acquired its interest in 2007 . . . Norway’s Orkla Care Health and Nutrition Group purchased Norwegian sports nutrition brand Proteinfabrikken. (Company reports; Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; just-food.com, 1/12/21; FoodBev.com, 1/12/21; Bloomberg, 1/5/21)

    Kerry Co-operative Creameries is reportedly set to buy a 60% stake in Kerry Group’s primary dairy business. The business is valued at €800 million (about US$969 million). (Irish Independent, 1/19/21)

    Welsh dairy processor South Caernarfon Creameries is spending £14.4 million (about US$20 million) over the next three years to increase cheese capacity at its Chwilog plant from 15,000 tons to 23,000 tons per year . . . Saudi Arabian dairy giant National Agricultural Development Co. (NADEC) is restructuring to reduce costs. It expects the process will yield savings of more than $30 million . . Saputo Dairy Australia officially changed its Coon Cheese brand to Cheer Cheese due to the original name’s racist connotations. “Treating people with respect and without discrimination is one of our basic principles, and it is imperative that we continue to uphold this in everything we do,” Chairman and CEO Lino A. Saputo said. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; FarmingUK, 1/13/21; ABC News, 1/14/21)

    PepsiCo entered into a new partnership with plant-based food firm Beyond Meat. The two will collaborate on snacks and drinks made from plant-based proteins . . . Tropicale Foods acquired fellow U.S. frozen dessert maker Paleteria La Michoacana, including the company’s Modesto, Calif., manufacturing plant. Tropicale is owned by investment firm Wind Point Partners. (AP, 1/26/21; FoodBev.com, 1/25/21)

    February -1

    Malaysian conglomerate Johore Tin Bhd (JTB) is rebranding and investing in its Able Farms dairy operations with an eye toward building a bigger international presence. The company manufactures milk powder and condensed and evaporated milk, as well as tin cans and packaging materials. JTB recently took a 43% stake in a dairy facility in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, with Mexican wholesaler/distributor Calkins Burke & Zannie de México and other investors. The facility can produce 120,000 MT per year of condensed milk products. The company expects to form additional joint ventures to expand its global footprint. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; BIMB Securities Research)

    Ireland’s Kerry Group acquired China’s Jining Nature Group, a maker of savory flavors, seasoning and prepared foods. (Food Business News, 2/4/21)

    Fonterra Brands Indonesia introduced a new natural cheese line under the Mainland brand. The line comes in three varieties: Mild, “Tasty” (aged 18 months) and “Vintage” (aged two years). The 250g packs will retail for about US$5.25 each . . . British cheesemaker Wyke Farms completed a new “export center of excellence” in Wincanton, UK. The facility expands the company’s cut-and-wrap and cheddar aging capacity, as well as its ability to consolidate container orders. Wyke Farms says it will allow the company to serve more global markets and support increased demand in a post-Brexit world . . . Mondelez International is spending £15 million (about US$21 million) to increase chocolate capacity at its Bournville, UK, manufacturing plant. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; FoodBev.com, 2/8/21; 2/5/21)

    Arla Foods plans to invest €700 million (about US$850 million) this year on plant expansions/upgrades, calcium initiative and its sustainability agenda. Major projects include the completion of a powder tower in Pronsfeld, Germany, a mozzarella expansion in Branderup, Denmark, and upgrades to its production site in Bahrain. “2021 will be another year of uncertainty and global disruption as the COVID-19 crisis stretches into the year and the first signs of recession are starting to show,” said CEO Peter Tuborgh. “But it is also a year where we hopefully will see the world open up again as vaccines are rolled out, so I am cautiously optimistic for 2021.” (Company reports)

    Ireland’s Kerry Group is buying Spain’s Biosearch Life, a manufacturer of ingredients for nutraceutical and functional foods. Grupo Lactalis Iberia owns a 29.5% stake in Biosearch Life and is selling its entire stake as part of the deal. Kerry also said it is undertaking a strategic review of its dairy business in Britain and Ireland. Kerry Co-operative Creameries was rumored last month to be a leading candidate to purchase the operations and is still considered a frontrunner should Kerry Group opt to sell. But the manufacturer said it was “evaluating several options.” In addition, the Group has decided to consolidate part of its business in Mexico and Malaysia and instead build a services division that can scale in size to deliver “more efficient and consistent service globally.” (Reuters, 2/16/21: Agriland, 2/16/21)

    Beston Global Food secured A$15.6 million (about US$12 million) to fund stage two of its Jervois, South Australia, lactoferrin plant expansion project. The project, when completed, will produce 20 MT of lactoferrin per year. The facility also produces mozzarella. (The Market Herald, 2/7/21)

    Vietnamese dairy giant Vinamilk formed two new ventures this month. Vibev, a partnership with Vietnamese food manufacturer Kido Group, will make and market ice cream and noncarbonated drinks for domestic and export markets starting in March. Vinamilk holds a 51% stake, Kido owns 49%. A second joint venture with an unnamed Philippine company will import and distribute Vinamilk dairy products in the Philippine market. Each party contributed about $6 million to the 50/50 venture. Vinamilk also operates wholly-owned subsidiaries in Cambodia, Poland and the United States. (Vietnam Investment Review, 2/21/21; Hanoi Times, 2/8/21)

    Danone continue to expand its investment in plant-based foods and beverages, including dairy alternatives. Last week, the company acquired Earth Island, owner of plant-based food manufacturer Follow Your Heart. Follow Your Heart makes plant-based cheese alternatives, spreads and “eggs.” Danone is investing €12 million (about US$15 million) in a new plant-based production line at its Parets del Valles factory near Barcelona, Spain. The line will produce coconut and oat-based items, including yogurt alternatives for local and international markets. The facility will become Danone’s first hybrid facility, pricing dairy and plant-based products side by side. Danone reported a 3.4% increase in sales at its dairy and plant-based division in its 2020 annual report. (FoodBev.com, 2/25/21; Food Dive, 2/19/21)

    Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures plans to open 15 new Shakey’s outlets and 15 Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken units in the Philippines this year. The expansion was planned for 2020 but put on hold due to the pandemic . . . Arla Foods plans to return €264 million (about US$320 million) to its farmer owners due to the cooperative’s strong financial position . . . Great Lakes Cheese is considering building a new $505-million manufacturing plant in the towns of Amity and Angelica, N.Y., and moving production out of Cuba, N.Y. The Allegheny County Industrial Development Agency is considering financial support for the project . . . Hispanic cheese and food manufacturer Cacique Foods is seeking financial incentives from the city of Amarillo, Texas, to build a new $88 million manufacturing plant. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; The Wellsville Daily Reporter, 2/22/21, KFDA, 2/19/21)

    March-Jun-23-2021-02-36-54-76-PM

    Danone announced leadership changes in response to pressure from activist investors who have criticized the company’s performance compared to rivals, as well as a plan to sell its stake in China’s Mengniu Dairy. Current chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber said he would relinquish his CEO responsibilities once the organization identifies a replacement. The process to recruit a new leader has already begun, the company said. Faber will remain chairman. The board of directors made additional changes, including creating a new independent director to provide management oversight in another nod to shareholder complaints. However, it backed Faber’s turnaround plan (including asset sales, job cuts and a reorganization) announced in October, even though the same group of investors opposed it. One of the assets Danone is selling is its stake in Mengniu, which has a book value of $850 million. Because that stake is held indirectly through its investment in state-owned COFCO Corp. (one of Mengniu’s largest shareholders), Danone must first convert the investment into a direct holding, which it could then sell outright. Danone stated that despite the planned sale, “China remains highly strategic” for the company and it is committed to the market. (Company reports; Financial Times, 3/2/21, 3/1/21; Bloomberg, 2/28/21)

    Britain’s First Milk is investing £9 million (about US$12.5 million) in its Lake District Creamery and £3.5 million (about US$5 million) in its Haverfordwest Creamery. The bigger Lake District project includes the installation of new high-capacity cheese block formers and new whey, milk and cream handling processes. The Haverfordwest project includes a “significant upgrade” to whey processing. The projects are part of a three year, £30-million series of upgrades that will ultimately lift capacity at both plants by 20%. The company is making the investments “to meet the growing demand from our customers around the world.” (Company reports)

    Independent UK milk processors Freshways (Nijjar Dairies Ltd.) and Medina Dairy said they are discussing a merger to build scale and improve competitiveness in the British fluid milk sector. (Farmers Weekly, 2/24/21)

    Reckitt Benckiser put its Chinese infant formula business under strategic review after disappointing results, impacted by falling birth rates, growing local competition, closure of the Hong Kong border and pandemic-related sales and marketing challenges . . . Singaporean food and agri-business firm Olam International hopes to list its Olam Food Ingredients (which will include its dairy operations) by the first half of 2022. The IPO is part of a strategy announced last year to divide its portfolio into two operating units—ingredients and Olam Global Agri—to better respond to market trends . . . Saputo Dairy UK received a £3.2-million grant (about US$4.5-million) from a British government economic growth program to support a project to expand cheese and ingredient processing expansion (including demineralized whey) at its Davidstow manufacturing plant. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; Cornish & Devon Post, 3/1/21; Bloomberg, 2/25/21, 2/24/21)

    Maeil Dairies Australia, a subsidiary of South Korea’s Maeil Dairies, paid A$13.5 million (about US$10 million) for the partially built Corio Bay Dairy Group milk powder processing facility in Geelong, Victoria. It is Maeil’s first investment in dairy manufacturing outside of Korea. Work on the facility—a joint venture between Wattle Health and Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia—halted in 2020 after COVID-19 helped push Organic Dairy Farmers into receivership. Tony McKenna, CEO of the joint venture, was named CEO of Maeil Dairies Australia. Maeil expects to pour another A$18 million (about US$14 million) into the plant to complete it. The company plans to use Geelong as a base to expand domestic Australian business and launch into new markets in Asia. (Mirage News, 3/4/21; Food and Drink Business, 1/20/21)

    French paper Les Echos reported that General Mills sold its stake in the European arm of its Yoplait business to French co-shareholder Sodiaal. The company reportedly began mulling a sale last October. The deal does not affect the Yoplait business in North America. (just-food.com, 3/8/21)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra merged its two Chilean businesses—Soprole and Prolesur—into a single company under the Soprole name. The move is part of Fonterra’s plan to streamline operations in Chile . . . Arla Foods proposed closing its Trevarrian Creamery cheese plant in Cornwall, UK. The plant contract manufactures a range of cheeses, including brie and camembert, for retailers and local brands. The company said it is making the move due to declines in the contract manufacturing business in the region . . . Sweden’s Oatley plans to build a new factory on Peterborough, UK, to produce 300 million liters per year of oat-based milk alternatives, with capacity to expand to 450 million liters. (Yahoo Finance, 3/9/21; DairyReporter.com, 3/9/21)

    Glanbia Ireland approved a policy aimed at limiting excessive growth by its suppliers during the spring flush—April, May and June. Farmers who exceed previous production peaks by more than 5% during those months will be paid 30% less for all excess milk. Glanbia is basing the 5% increase on each farm’s peak production volume in April, May and June in either 2018, 2019 or 2020, whichever is highest. Glanbia suppliers loudly criticized the plan, saying it’s a first step toward supply management. The company said the policy is “temporary,” and aimed at trying to manage peak season milk production growth. Glanbia said it will use any money saved through the scheme to incentivize milk production on the shoulders of the flush. (Agriland, 3/16/21; Irish Independent, 3/15/21)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group provided a divestment update in its half-year results announcement this week. The company and its joint venture partner plan to sell their farms in China, a move that aligns with Fonterra’s focus on New Zealand milk. The company also reduced its shareholding Beingmate from almost 4% to just short of 3% and expects to reduce its holdings to zero by the end of the financial year. (Company reports)

    FrieslandCampina and Egyptian cheese manufacturer Arabian Food Industries (Domty) formed a joint venture to focus on supplying cheese to Africa and the Middle East. FrieslandCampina said that it expects the joint venture “will bring exciting innovations that will create new cheese propositions that are more healthy, affordable and accessible” to consumers across both regions. (Company reports)

    Japan’s Meiji is establishing a new unit in Vietnam to import and sell infant formula and capitalize on the country’s higher birth rate. About 1.5 million more babies are born every year in Vietnam vs. Japan. Meiji Food Vietnam will launch April 1. The company has no immediate plans to set up manufacturing in Vietnam. (Nikkei Asian Review, 3/13/21)

    Frisian Flag, a subsidiary of Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina, broke ground on a new $265-million manufacturing plant in the Cikarang industrial district of West Java. The facility, originally announced last year, will produce packaged fluid milk, condensed milk and creamers. The company expects to sell about 90% of production in export markets and 10% domestically. It plans to start commercial operations in 2023. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Jakarta Post, 3/15/21)

    According to a plan announced earlier this month, Danone Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber was supposed to remain chairman but give up his CEO title once the company found a new chief executive. Instead, he stepped down from both positions this week under pressure from activist investors who were not satisfied with the earlier plan. Gilles Schnepp took over as nonexecutive chairman; two senior Danone executives—Shane Grant and Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta—will lead the company while it searches for a new CEO. (Wall Street Journal, 3/15/21)

    Lactalis is negotiating with fellow French cheesemaker Bel Group to buy numerous Bel businesses, including Royal Bel Leerdammer NL (including the Leerdammer brand), Bel Italia, Bel Deutschland, and Bel Shostka Ukraine, in exchange for Lactalis’s 23% stake in Bel (Lactalis would maintain a 1% share after the acquisitions). The sale aligns with Bel’s strategy to expand beyond cheese and grow its presence in the healthy snack sector. The company said that the additional funds from the deal would allow it to ramp up diversification efforts in high-growth markets like Asia/Pacific and North America. The deal would raise Lactalis’s presence in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Ukraine. Separately, and also in line with its diversification strategy, Bel launched its first 100% plant-based cheese alternative line under the Nurishh banner. The line—which offers alternatives to cheddar, mozzarella and provolone in slices and shreds—will debut in the U.S. with a global rollout to follow. (Company reports; Food Dive, 3/23/21; FoodBev.com, 3/19/21)

    New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products is spending NZ$40 million (about US$28 million) to double butter capacity at its Hokitika, South Island, manufacturing plant. The project will focus on its Westgold brand of grass-fed, consumer butter as part of the company’s strategy to move away from commodity packaged products. When completed, the facility will manufacture 42,000 MT of butter per year. (Company reports)

    General Mills confirmed reports that it was selling its 51% stake in Yoplait’s European operations to France’s Sodiaal. What had not been reported earlier was the asking price: General Mills, in return, will acquire Sodiaal’s 48% stake in the Canadian Yoplait business. Yoplait Canada will become a wholly owned subsidiary of General Mills . . . Reckitt Benckiser Group is considering selling its Mead Johnson infant formula business in China . . . Singapore’s Olam International sold its 15% stake in New Zealand’s Open Country Dairy. The buyer or buyers were not named . . . Saudi dairy and food giant Almarai purchased Bakemart Bahrain and Bakemart UAE (including two UAE production facilities) in a deal worth $26 million. Bakemart produces baked goods for the foodservice and retail sectors in the Middle East . . . Mondelez International purchased a “significant majority interest” in UK sports nutrition brand Grenade(USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; FoodBev.com, 3/23/21; BusinessDesk, 3/23/21; Food Dive, 3/22/21; Reuters, 3/22/21)

     April-3

    Glanbia Ireland modified a policy announced last month aimed at limiting peak milk production volumes from its suppliers. Under the revised policy, rather than reducing payments for farmers who exceed prescribed production gains, the company is now offering to pay for milk not produced. And rather than penalize all farms who exceed established production levels, the company will allow small producers to increase output by 10% each year for the duration of the policy.Even though Glanbia said a number of suppliers are willing to commit to scaling back, Irish farmer organizations continue to criticize the plan and some farmers are reportedly seeking to become dual suppliers with other dairies to circumvent the peak milk controls. (Irish Independent, 4/6/21; Agriland, 3/30/21)

    Fonterra completed the sale of its two wholly owned China farming hubs to Inner Mongolia Youran Dairy for NZ$552 million (about US$388 million). Fonterra said it will continue to grow its markets for New Zealand milk in China “through new products, applications and close partnerships with our customers” . . . German dairy processor The Meggle Group purchased Bavarian cheesemaker Stegmann Emmentaler Käsereien from French dairy co-op Sodiaal. Stegmann operates plants in Kempten and Altusried, Germany. Its sales are about €120 million (about US$143 million) . . . UK-based Nomad Foods purchased Fortenova Group’s Frozen Food Business Group (FFBG). About half of FFBG’s revenues (or about $165 million) come from ice cream, a new category for Nomad. (Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 4/6/21, 3/30/21)

    The on-again, off-again talks between Ireland's Kerry Group and Kerry Co-operative for the co-op to acquire the group’s dairy business are off again—at least for now. A week earlier, the two parties were rumored to have tabled a proposal that would see the co-op acquire Kerry Group’s dairy business in three to five years. The proposal, “Project Seafield,” would have seen the creation of a new joint venture to house Kerry Group’s dairy business, including five manufacturing plants, a feed mill, 29 agricultural supply stores and a roster of brand names (although the Kerry name would NOT move with the business). Products manufactured by the joint venture would have been sold exclusively to Kerry Group for five years. The new entity would have been barred from competing with Kerry Group for a further two years after the initial five-year period. Kerry Group suspended the plan, noting it would continue its strategic review of the dairy business. (Agriland, 4/15/21, 4/8/21)

    Ireland’s Dairygold Co-operative Society said it has up to €100 million (about US$119 million) to spend on acquisitions to kick-start its new health and nutrition division established in 2020. The co-op is not yet talking with any candidates, but said it would be looking at already developed businesses. Dairygold formed the division with an eye toward entering higher-value sectors such as fortified milk powders and nutritional products. CEO Jim Wolfe pointed to “dairy deficit areas in Asian markets” as a target. Wolfe also announced he would be retiring at the end of this year after 42 years at Dairygold, including the last 12 as leader. (Irish Times, 4/8/21, 4/7/21; Head Topics, 4/7/21)

    Lactalis do Brasil signed a partnership agreement with Brazilian cooperative Cativa. Under the terms of the deal, Lactalis will take over two Cativa manufacturing plants and a collection center, and Cativa will supply milk exclusively to Lactalis for a 10-year period, with an option to extend the deal for another 10 years . . . German cheese-based appetizer maker Frostkone Food Group purchased UK appetizer/finger food manufacturer Abergavenny Fine Foods. Frostkone said it hopes the purchase will help expand its exports and international presence. (Company reports; FoodBev.com, 4/6/21)

    Shake Shack says it has “big plans for Asia,” with new outlets planned this year for Shenzhen, Macao, Guangzhou, Singapore and Beijing. It already runs 48 Asian locations, and said its business “has been incredibly resilient in Asia,” even through the pandemic. The company plans to open 35-40 new units globally this year and 40-50 in 2022 . . . Leon Clement, CEO of New Zealand dairy processor Synlait Milk, abruptly resigned effective April 30. Synlait saw a sharp drop in profits due to reduced sales by its main customer A2 Milk (which is facing pandemic-related business difficulties). Former CEO John Penno will take over as interim CEO on May 1 as Synlait searches for a new leader . . . India’s Parag Milk Foods plans to raise $42 million to meet capital investment needs and improve cash flow . . . Canada’s Agropur is closing a fluid milk plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in late September to optimize its consumer milk operations. (CNBC, 4/15/21; DairyReporter.com, 4/15/21; BusinessDesk, 4/12/21; Press Trust of India, 4/5/21)

    An Irish High Court ruled that Glanbia can proceed with its €140-million (about US$169-million) cheese plant in Belview, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. Construction on the plant—a joint venture with Dutch dairy processor Royal A-Ware—had been put on hold over a legal challenge centered on the facility’s environmental impact. While the court ruled in Glanbia’s favor, An Taisce, the group who brought the lawsuit, said it was considering a further legal challenge. The facility will produce 50,000 MT per year of gouda cheese for export. The construction delay was a major reason why Glanbia announced a plan to reduce peak milk production to the dismay of many of its suppliers. Glanbia has not commented on whether it will proceed with that peak milk plan after the High Court’s ruling. (That’s Farming, 4/21/21; Agriland, 4/20/21)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group is building a fifth application center in China and upgrading three of its four existing locations. The upgraded center in Guangzhou reopened last week; units in Beijing and Shanghai are next up for facelifts. The new location will be in Wuhan. Fonterra says the Guangzhou center holds more than 220 application demonstration seminars per year for the Chinese bakery, foodservice and beverage sectors. (USDEC China office)

    China’s Junlebao expects to complete its $90-million fluid milk plant in Hebei Province later this year. The facility will produce up to 260,000 MT of milk products (including UHT milk) per year . . . Saputo Inc. named Leanne Cutts president and COO (International and Europe) effective in the second half of calendar year 2021. Cutts currently serves as global chief marketing officer at “one of the world’s largest banks,” Saputo said . . . Ireland’s Kerry Group plans to invest €30 million (about US$36 million) in a new “taste” facility in Karawang, Indonesia. The facility will include a flavor manufacturing site, a sampling hub and an R&D pilot plant. (USDEC China office; Company reports)

    Egyptian cheese and bakery products company Arabian Food Industries (better known as Domty) is getting into the fluid business. The company is adding a $2-million Tetra Pak line to produce regular UHT milk, but plans on expanding to flavored milk, heavy cream and other products, with a target to launch one new item a month. The project stems from a pivot made during the pandemic to shift focus from on-the-go snacks (and successful products like its portable cheese sandwich) to products consumed at home. The company said it expects to revive investments in on-the-go products as COVID-19 comes under control. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office)

    Major New Zealand milk producer Van Leeuwen Dairy Group (VLG) entered receivership. VLG has been struggling since it was identified as the source of New Zealand’s Mycoplasma bovis outbreak in 2017. A long battle for compensation with New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary industries followed. In 2020, it refinanced its operations and tried to sell nine of its 13 dairy farms. Media reports state that the business currently milks about 10,000 cows. (Otago Daily Times, 4/24/21)

    May-4

    Hilmar Cheese is building a $460-million cheese and whey manufacturing plant in Dodge City, Kan. The company expects to break ground this summer, with the plant becoming fully operational in 2024. The new facility, which the company says will “showcase sustainable solutions,” will help Hilmar meet growing demand for cheese and whey products worldwide. (Company reports)

    U.S.-based investment firm KKR invested in direct-to-consumer Chinese dairy company Adopt A Cow. Using a vertically integrated production model and ecommerce sales platform, Adopt A Cow has built a business of 10 million consumers over the last five years selling fluid milk, yogurt, cheese sticks and milk powder. With KKR’s investment, the company plans to build additional farms and manufacturing facilities . . . New Zealand’s Rural Land Co. is paying $114 million for 14 dairy farms owned by Van Leeuwen Group. Van Leeuwen entered receivership last month. The properties cover more than 15,500 acres and around 10,000 cows. Rural Land will lease the assets to three Kiwi farming groups. (Company reports; Stuff.co.nz, 4/30/21)

    Malaysia’s Dutch Lady Milk Industries says it plans to build a new manufacturing plant in the state of Negeri Sembilan to replace its existing facility. The company, which counts Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina as majority shareholder, announced similar plans last year then cancelled them . . . CEC Entertainment, owner of Chuck E. Cheese, plans to open 50 new outlets across the Middle East over the next five to seven years, half of them in Saudi Arabia . . . South Korean food and confectionery firm SPC Group is expanding in Malaysia, with plans to launch its popular Korean bakery chain Paris Baguette and build a new manufacturing facility. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; USDEC Southeast Asia office)

    Irish environmental watchdog An Taisce is appealing the High Court decision allowing Glanbia Ireland to proceed with construction on a major new cheese plant in Belview, County Kilkenny. An Taisce’s original court challenge, which cited increased carbon emissions from the plant and negative impact on water quality, has already delayed estimated completion of the project from 2022 to 2024. The appeal could postpone the project even further, Glanbia said. (Agriland, 5/10/21; Irish Times, 5/9/21)

    French dairy, fruit and plant-based food manufacturer Bel Group is splitting the CEO and chairman position into separate functions, setting the stage for executive vice president Cécile Béliot to take over as CEO. Current Chairman and CEO Antoine Fiévet will remain chairman. The move sets the stage for closer integration between Bel’s dairy operations and those of MOM Group, the fruit-based food manufacturer in which Bel holds an 83% share. Bel expects the changeover to advance international growth in what it calls “its three complementary product families.” (Company reports)

    Danone is selling its 10% stake in China’s Mengniu Dairy in a deal that could be worth up to $2 billion . . . Investment firms and Chinese dairy companies are lining up to acquire Reckitt Benckiser’s Chinese infant nutrition business. The business recently posted disappointing results, impacted by falling Chinese birth rates, growing local competition, closure of the Hong Kong border and pandemic-related sales and marketing challenges. So far, media reports say Bain CapitalCarlyle GroupKKRSequoia China, China’s Yili Group and China’s New Hope Dairy have all submitted bids . . . Irish dairy processor Carbery Group purchased U.S.-based flavor and ingredient supplier Innova Flavors. Innova will join Carbery’s U.S. Synergy ingredients division. (Reuters, 5/12/21; Bloomberg, 5/10/21; Irish Times, 5/7/21)

    Saputo is spending $30 million to expand capacity at its Las Cruces, N.M., manufacturing site . . . Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina is spending €14 million (about US$17 million) to expand production capacity for dairy desserts and fermented milk products at its Mátészalka, Hungary, plant . . . CKE Restaurants, parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, plans to double the number of international units to 2,000 over the next five years. About half those new stores are expected for Mexico and the Middle East, but the company noted there is “huge white space” in China and Africa . . . Malaysia’s Johor Corp. is seeking investors to develop Jemaluang Dairy Valley, a project to produce fresh dairy products for the domestic market . . . Great Lakes Cheese broke ground on a new $185-million cheese packaging plant in Abilene, Texas. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Las Cruces Bulletin, 5/13/21; FoodBev.com, 5/13/21; Forbes, 5/10/21; Melkveebedrijf, 5/10/21)

    Nestlé broke ground on a new $220-million beverage facility in Batang, Central Java, Indonesia. The plant will produce Bear Brand liquid milk and Milo and Nescafé ready-to-drink beverages to meet rising consumer demand in Southeast Asia. Nestlé also says the facility will support development of the dairy sector in the region. Commercial production is slated to begin in 2023. (Company reports)

    Fonterra is shutting down its Darnum, Victoria, manufacturing site for five weeks as it undergoes a multi-million “maintenance” makeover. The facility manufactures nutritional infant powders, 75% of which are sold overseas. It takes in about 280,000 MT of raw milk annually. While the plant is closed, all milk will go to Fonterra’s Stanhope, Victoria, cheese plant. (Farm Online, 5/19/21)

    Italian dairy group Granarolo acquired the 49% stake in British distributor Granarolo UK that it didn't already own. The company said it hopes the deal will strengthen its footprint in Britain and that it plans to acquire additional companies in Italy, Europe and overseas. (FoodBev.com, 5/17/21)

    Danone named Antoine de Saint-Affrique, head of chocolate maker Barry Callebaut and former leader of Unilever’s foods division, as its new CEO effective Sept. 15, 2021 . . . Kerry Group plans to build a food technology and innovation center in Queensland, Australia. The facility will include pilot plants, labs and tasting facilities. Kerry says it will leverage its “R&D network around the world, as well as global insights, market knowledge, and culinary and applications expertise to customize solutions that ultimately deliver exciting products that resonate with the local market.” (Company reports)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina sold its Russian subsidiary Campina LLC to German dairy processor Ehrmann and its Nutrifeed animal nutrition business to Dutch feed manufacturer Denkavit. Under the terms of the feed deal, FrieslandCampina will supply Denkavit with dairy inputs. The Ehrmann deal includes the Campina manufacturing plant in Stupino, Moscow Oblast, as well as yogurt brands Fruttis and Nezhny. Ehrmann already operates a yogurt plant near Moscow. FrieslandCampina’s previously announced its intention to review its position in various markets and refocus on the best growth opportunities. (Company reports; Food Ingredients 1st, 5/25/21)

    Canada’s Saputo purchased Wisconsin Specialty Protein’s Reedsburg, Wis., manufacturing plant. The plant, which makes value-added ingredients including organic lactose, goat whey and other dairy powders, will enable Saputo to broaden and increase the value of its ingredients portfolio for the United States and internationally, the company said. Saputo also purchased UK-based Bute Island Foods, a producer of cheese alternatives for retail and foodservice markets. “Our commitment remains to expand our footprint in the dairy alternatives space to meet the changing demands of our customers and consumers,” said Lino A. Saputo, chair and CEO. (Company reports)

    Qatar’s vertically integrated dairy firm Baladna is building a new processing facility to manufacture evaporated milk, sterilized cream and other long shelf-life products. The facility, set for completion in spring 2022, is part of a broader plan to expand export markets in Africa and Southeast Asia. In addition, the company is exploring transferring the milk production and processing strategy it followed in Qatar to other nations, starting with Malaysia. It began farm and plant site surveys in Malaysia this month. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 5/19/21)

    China Youran Dairy Group is planning an initial public offering aimed at raising $800 million. Youran purchased Fonterra Co-operative Group’s dairy farm hubs in China’s Hebei and Shanxi provinces last year. It says it will use the cash raised to expand its breeding herd and ramp up feed and raw milk production. Chinese milk production grew 7.5% in 2020, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. But Chinese cows produce about 80% as much milk as cattle in other countries with modern dairy industries, notes USDA’s latest Dairy And Products Semi-annual on China. That is due to genetics, feeding and disease issues. Chinese dairy processor Yili Industrial Group holds a 40% stake in Youran. (USDA; Reuters, 5/18/21)

    Japan’s Morinaga Milk Industry acquired Vietnamese beverage and yogurt maker Elovi Vietnam JSC. The deal is part of Morinaga’s plan to increase its global presence. (Company reports)

    Saudi Arabian dairy processor SADAFCO expects to start trial production at its new ice cream plant by July . . . Contract foodservice company Compass Group said that it intends to convert 40% of its portfolio to plant-based meals. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports)

    June-4Arla Foods is investing more than $8 million to expand its Troldhede Dairy facility in West Jutland, Denmark, to meet rising demand for the company’s cheese in Japan. The plant makes a number of cheeses, including Castello brie and camembert. The project will allow Arla to implement a new production method for its cheeses that the company claims will yield fresher, softer cheeses after arrival in Japan. Arla expects the changes will increase Troldhede cheese sales to Japan by 800 MT per year to 2,000 MT total. The company expects to complete the expansion by mid-2023. (FoodBev.com, 5/28/21)

    New product trends in target U.S. dairy export markets—and from U.S. and competitor dairy ingredient suppliers—offer insights into consumer demand trends for U.S. suppliers. Here are some of more notable rollouts from the past few months.

    • Arla Food Ingredients developed the first prototype recipes for a joint project with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) that aims to take processed papaya leftovers and create an affordable, nutritious snack for low-income consumers in Ethiopia. The initial product is a protein bar made with papaya pulp and milk and whey-based ingredients. Three other Ethiopian food and ag companies are involved in the project, which runs through 2024. Arla’s next step is to adapt the recipe to local consumer preferences.
    • The Dairy Promotion Organization of Thailand released Chew-D, the first ambient yogurt drink with chewable pieces in Thailand. The line is passion-fruit flavored with small, chewy pearls made from the root of the konjac plant.
    • Danone introduced the first infant formula product manufactured at its factory in Qingdao, Shandong Province. The company is marketing Nutrilon Yunhui Stage 3 as deriving from milk from grass-fed cows. Danone called it a product of “milestone significance” and plans to increase research in China to produce more locally developed and manufactured products over the next five years.
    • China’s Feihe Dairy was granted a patent for a new manufacturing method for shelf-stable processed cheese. The product contains natural cheese, low-gluten wheat flour, starch and raising agents, which Feihe says lowers costs and reduces production times.
    • China’s Junlebao Dairy released a new upgraded version of its A2 infant formula billed as fostering brain development. The product contains milkfat globule membrane, DHA and a patented phosphate. Junlebao’s original A2 infant formula released last April posted sales of $23 million last year.
    • Separately, Junlebao unveiled its first new cheese product since investing in cheese manufacturer Shanghai School Cheese Food Technology in January. The company is marketing the product—a kids’ cheese-snack featuring DHA and arachidonic acid—as good for children’s health.
    • Kerry Group released a new children’s milk formula developed for the Chinese market. Glanseair Children’s Formula, for kids aged 4-12, is manufactured in Ireland and shipped to China for online and traditional sales. Kerry is marketing the product as made from milk from grass-fed cows and as having better sustainability credentials compared to other formulas.
    • Lactalis expanded its milk powder range with a new organic WMP for chocolate, dairy and baking applications.
    • Japan’s Meiji launched two new probiotic yogurt products in China, noting rising demand during the pandemic for food products considered “good for you.”
    • Synlait Milk launched premium SMP and WMP under the Made With Better Milk Media reports say the initial customer is a “prominent consumer brand owner in Asia.” The products are made from milk supplied by farmers in Synlait’s “Lead With Pride” farm assurance program, which it claims sets stringent standards for animal and human welfare and generates better outcomes for climate, water, soil and biodiversity.
    • Vinamilk launched a new UHT milk with “bird’s nest.” Bird’s nest is a traditional ingredient in China and parts of Asia with reputed medicinal and nutritive properties. Vinamilk bills the product as containing vitamins K2, A and D3 and selenium to bolster the immune system. The first export shipment of the new milk went to Singapore in March. (Company reports; USDEC China office; USDEC Southeast Asia office)

    Korean private equity firm Hahn & Co. agreed to pay $280 million to acquire a 53% stake in South Korean dairy processor Namyang Dairy Products. Namyang has faced multiple scandals in recent weeks resulting in the resignations of its managing director and its chairman . . . Australian investment group Prime Value Asset Management paid A$62.5 million (about US$48 million) for 11 Tasmanian dairy farms belonging to Van Dairy Group. Earlier this year, Van came under fire over effluent management issues. Prime said it planned to address the environmental issue. The deal includes 5,000 cows and yearlings. (Farm Online, 5/31/21; MarketLine Financial Deals Tracker, 5/31/21)

    A group of partners plans to take Mexican dairy processor Grupo Lala private, paying a 20% premium for outstanding shares . . . China’s Mengniu Dairy secured an HK$2.3-billion loan (about US$296 million) that it reportedly plans to use to expand organic milk production, add equipment to reduce water usage and invest in alternative energy systems . . . Ireland’s Kerry Group opened a new “taste” facility in Irapuato, Mexico. The facility, serving Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean region, will help Kerry “co-create with customers” and develop products tailored to regional preferences, the company said. Mexico presents “a solid opportunity for growth and innovation,” said Marcelo Marques, president and CEO of Kerry Latin America. (USDEC Mexico office; USDEC China office; Company reports; Global Capital Euroweek, 5/31/21)

    Primavera Capital Group paid $2.2 billion for Reckitt Benckiser Group’s Infant Formula and Child Nutrition business in China. The deal includes manufacturing facilities in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and Guangzhou, China, and royalty-free and exclusive license to the Mead Johnson and Enfa brand families in China, including EnfamilEnfagrow and Enfinitas. Reckitt will continue to own the brands in the rest of the world and also maintains an 8% stake in the Chinese business. At a recent dairy event, an official from Yili Group reported that share of foreign made brands in China’s infant formula market had fallen to 46% (including both imports and cross-border ecommerce trade). Foreign-made share hasn't been that low since before the melamine scandal in 2008 that ushered in the foreign infant formula boom. Reckitt Benckiser booked a £2.5-billion loss (about US$3.5-billion) from disposal of the division, which had disappointed since the company acquired it in 2017. (USDEC China office; Company reports; FoodBev.com, 6/8/21; Evening Standard, 6/6/21)

    Abu Dhabi state investment fund ADQ is considering acquiring a stake in Egypt’s Juhayna Food Industries. The fund has been investing in the broader region since its founding in 2018, with a focus on Egypt. It agreed last year to invest $1 billion to support expansion of hypermarket chain LuLu Group in Egypt. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office)

    FrieslandCampina plans to appeal a ruling by a Thai court that the company owes 2.2 billion baht (about US$70 million) to an unnamed former business client. The customer brought the court case claiming FrieslandCampina overcharged the company for a decade, from 2009-2019. FrieslandCampina operates an office in Bangkok and a plant in Samrong, where it manufactures the Foremost brand of condensed and UHT milks and yogurts for domestic sales and export markets . . . Hispanic food company Cacique broke ground on a new $88-million, 200,000-sq.-ft. processing facility in Amarillo, Texas, to manufacture Mexican-style cheeses, yogurt, crema and other dairy products. (Company reports; just-food.com, 6/8/21)

    European dairy processors Arla Foods and FrieslandCampina continue to invest in the Nigerian dairy sector in ways that build relationships with the local industry and a long-term vision to foster mutually beneficial dairy growth. Arla plans to build a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria where it will train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers with instruction on improving milk yields and quality, animal welfare and profitability. Milk produced by the farm will be processed at Arla’s nearby plant. Arla’s philosophy: Providing Nigeria’s growing population with nutritious foods requires a “complementary approach where imported food is crucial to ensure food security while also supporting the government’s long-term agricultural transformation plan to build a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria,” said Arla Executive Vice President and head of Arla Foods International Simon Stevens. FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, an affiliate of the Dutch company, opened a new milk collection center in southwest Nigeria on the campus of Bowen University. The company, which operates a Dairy Development Program (DDP) in southwest and northern Nigeria, is also backing the building of a dairy farm for training purposes at the school. The DDP supports the training of local farmers with instruction on improving milk yields and quality, and feeding, breeding, farm management. (Company reports; FoodBusinessAfrica.com, 6/19/21)

    Arla Foods signed a deal with Northern Ireland-based Dale Farm wherein Dale Farm will supply the Denmark-based dairy giant with WPC for use in infant formula and consumer health products. Arla said the agreement will help the company meet increasing global demand for Arla Foods Ingredients specialty products. Dale Farm said the agreement was “an excellent opportunity to grow our presence in the global whey protein market.” Prior to the deal, Dale Farm mainly supplied WPC for sports nutrition products, so the focus on infant formula is a new sector for the company. (Company reports)

    Kansas Dairy Ingredients (KDI) is spending $45 million to expand its Hugoton, Kan., operations. The company, which specializes in concentrated milk products, is adding capacity to produce American-style, Italian-style, Hispanic-style and European-style cheeses as well as butter. It began construction on the expansion in December 2020 and expects to start receiving milk in October 2021. (Food Business News, 6/22/21)

    Kerry Group sold its chilled meats and convenience meals division to U.S. food company Pilgrim’s Pride for €819 million (about US$976 million). It plans to use the proceeds to fund acquisitions in the ingredients sector as the company refocuses operations on its higher-margin taste and nutrition divisions. Immediately after the sale, Kerry purchased preservation technology company Niacet. Kerry’s dairy operations, which it was close to selling to Kerry Co-op earlier this year, will not be sold “at this time,” the company said. Its consumer foods business will fully incorporate dairy-related activities for the time being. Analysts believe it is just a matter of time before Kerry offloads its dairy holdings as well. (Irish Times, 6/21/21, 6/19/21; Irish Examiner, 6/17/21; Farmers Journal, 6/18/21)

    Belgian dairy co-op Milcobel purchased Belgian mozzarella shredding specialist Kaasbrik. Milcobel said the deal would enable the company to strengthen its position as a global player in the international mozzarella sector. (DairyReporter.com, 6/21/21)

    Switzerland’s Emmi laid the foundation stone for a new CHF 50-million (about US$54-million) cheese plant at its Emmen site. The facility will replace the company’s 40-year-old cheese building, upgrading processing equipment and expanding capacity for its cheese brands including Lucerne cream cheese . . . Mexican dairy processor Alpura is spending nearly US$75 million on two projects in the state of Mexico: US$32 million on its La Torre Cuautitlán plant (which manufactures yogurt drinks and other dairy products) and $42 million on a new distribution center in Tepotzotlán . . . Brazilian dairy processor Betania opened a new R$50-million (about US$10-million) milk powder plant in the Brazilian state of Ceará. The facility can handle 200 MT of raw milk per day. (USDEC Mexico office; USDEC South America office; Company reports)

    July-3

    Fonterra Co-operative Group and its joint venture partners sold two dairy farms in China’s Shandong Province to AustAsia Investment Holdings, a subsidiary of Singapore-based agri-food company Japfa. AustAsia paid US$116 million for the two farms, which house about 16,000 cows. The deal included two additional sites in Shandong that potentially could be developed into farms. The transaction, which follows the sales of two wholly-owned Fonterra farms in China earlier this year, completes the co-op’s exit from Chinese milk production. (Company reports; WattAgNet, 6/29/21)

    Norwegian Consumer products group Orkla purchased a 75% stake in Dutch pizza chain New York Pizza, which operates 232 franchised stores, primarily in the Netherlands but with aspirations for international expansion. (Company reports)

    Agri-Mark began a $16-million expansion at its Chateaugay, N.Y., plant. The project, part of a broader $30-million investment at Chateaugay, includes a new state-of-the-art cheese production room . . . Great Lakes Cheese has reportedly selected Franklinville, N.Y., as the location for its new $505-million cheese plant. The company dropped plans to build in Belvidere, N.Y., last month . . . Sartori Cheese is adding 22,000-sq.-ft. to its Plymouth, Wis., facility, enlarging the operation to more than 100,000-sq.-ft. The company expects to complete the project by November 2021 . . . China’s Yili Group established a new wholly-owned cheese division under the name Inner Mongolia Yijiahao Cheese Co. Yili is increasingly upbeat about cheese potential in China, after success with innovative products like shelf-stable lollipop-shaped processed cheese for children and adults and a baked cheese snack with dried fruit and nuts (made from imported Dutch natural cheese) . . . Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, a subsidiary of UK-based Froneri, is investing $145 million to expand its ice cream plant in Fort Wayne, Ind. . . . Shake Shack and its Chinese licensee Maxim’s Caterers plan to enter 10 new territories in China and add 63 more units by 2031 . . . Korean convenience-store chain emart24 opened its first Malaysian unit with plans for 300 total stores over the next five years. The company reports that ready-to-eat foods and fast food from convenience stores—a long-time trend in South Korea and Japan—are increasingly in demand in Malaysia. (USDEC China office; USDEC Southeast Asia office; New York State governor’s office; Food Market, 6/28/21; WFRV, 6/25/21; WGRZ, 6/24/21; Food Business News, 6/23/21)

    Darigold is building a new $500-million protein and butter operation in Pasco, Wash., with a sharp focus on sustainability and stewardship. The 400,000-sq.-ft. plant will feature a variety of technologies and conservation strategies that—combined—could mitigate more than 300,000 MT of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. Anaerobic digestion technology—part of on-site wastewater treatment—will extract methane for use as a natural gas substitute. Equipment will feature heat and energy recovery features. The facility’s infrastructure is designed to accommodate the transition to electric vehicles in the future. Situated in the Port of Pasco on the Columbia River, the plant will have access to rail and barge facilities and will slash the distance trucks travel for milk pickups and deliveries by 5 million miles annually.Darigold CEO Stan Ryan called the project a “future-forward investment in a next-generation dairy facility.”

    Ireland’s High Court dismissed a challenge to a joint-venture cheese plant planned by Glanbia Ireland and Dutch dairy processor Royal A-Ware. Irish environmental watchdog An Taisce has held up the project with multiple court challenges, citing projected carbon emissions and negative impact on water quality. The facility will produce 50,000 MT per year of gouda cheese for export and is part of Glanbia’s post-Brexit diversification strategy aimed at reducing dependence on sales of cheddar to the UK. Glanbia originally expected to complete the plant in 2022, but that date has been pushed back at least until 2024. An Taisce said it stands by its criticism of the project but would review the latest High Court judgment and assess its options before making any further comments. (Agriland, 7/2/21)

    Canada’s Saputo is paying £23 million (about US$32 million) to acquire UK cheesemaker Wensleydale Dairy Products. Wensleydale operates two facilities in North Yorkshire, from which it manufactures, markets and distributes a variety of specialty and regional cheeses around the world. The company will become part of Saputo’s Dairy Division (UK) under its Europe Sector. (Company reports)

    Ornua Ingredients Europe inked a long-term supply partnership with Aymes International, a provider of oral nutritional supplements and clinical nutritional products. Under terms of the agreement, Ornua will manufacture “several million” 57g sachets of Aymes Shake powder at its facility in Leek, UK. Ornua added a new £500,000 (about US$690,000) single-sachet packing line as part of the deal. Aymes said it expects the partnership to develop over time with new products and line extensions. (Company reports)

    New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office approved a2 Milk Co.’s NZ$270-million acquisition (about US$190-million) of a 75% stake in Mataura Valley Milk. China Animal Husbandry Group, a subsidiary of China National Agriculture Development Group, will retain a 25% share. The deal broadens a2 Milk’s nutritional products capacity, diversifies its geographic reach and strengthens relationships with key partners in China (China National Agriculture is also the parent company of a2’s logistics and distribution partner in China). A2 also has strategic relationships with Synlait Milk and Fonterra Co-operative Group. The company previously stated that it plans to establish canning and blending capacity at Mataura’s plant in Gore on New Zealand’s South Island, creating a fully integrated infant formula facility. (Company reports; Australian Financial Review, 7/5/21)

    Brazilian dairy processor Betania opened a new milk powder plant in Morada Nova, Ceará. The plant, which cost R$50 million (about US$10 million), can process 206 MT of raw milk per day into 200g and 800g packages for consumers and 25kg bags for industrial customers . . . According to McDonald’s, China still has plenty of room for fast-food expansion. McDonald’s China expects to open 500 new stores in 2021, its most ambitious year of expansion in the company’s 30-year history in the country. This comes after opening more than 480 new Chinese units in 2020 despite the pandemic . . . Illinois-based co-op Prairie Farms Dairy is reportedly shutting down its Homewood, Ala., milk plant, all branches and substations across Alabama, and four branches in Georgia. The company did not elaborate on the reason for the closures. (USDEC South America office; USDEC China office; WSFA-12, 7/1/21)

    Dairy ingredient supplier Welcome Dairy Holdings purchased Minnesota-based spray dryer North Star. North Star provides spray drying services for the food ingredients sector, as well as wet blending and R&D for the food and supplement industries. The purchase gives Wisconsin-based Welcome (a portfolio company of New Heritage Capital) in-house spray-drying capacity. (FoodBev.com, 7/12/21)

    China’s Junlebao is launching three new milk powders tailored to the nutritional needs of specific adult age groups: 40+, 50+ and 60+. It is the first time the company has distinguished between middle-aged and senior customers with its milk powder product line. The company hopes to take advantage of rapid growth in adult milk powder demand and further expectations for rising consumption given China’s rapidly aging population. Middle-age and senior milk powders grew their share of the total Chinese milk powder market from 8.5% in 2015 to 11.8% in 2019. In 2020, sales of middle-age and senior milk powder products jumped 142%. (USDEC China office)

    Singapore-based Olam International is reportedly planning a new milk processing plant on New Zealand's North Island in South Waikato. The company is supposed to make a formal announcement in the coming months . . . Central Bottling Co. (also known as Coca-Cola Israel) signed a strategic agreement with Israeli startup Biomilk to collaborate on developing products based on Biomilk’s cultured milk technology. Central Bottling plans to invest $2 million in the effort . . . UAE dairy processor Koita, which launched its milk and milk alternative beverages last August in Singapore, is now expanding its presence aggressively in country. The company recently entered two major supermarket chains—Cold Storage Products and NTUC—and is in the process of listing with online seller Amazon Grocery (after already selling product through Lazada) . . . A2 Milk reorganized its Pacific Division into three business units: a China domestic business, an international export business, and an Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) domestic business. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Rural News Group, 7/13/21; Times of Israel, 7/12/21; Radio New Zealand, 7/12/21)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group is drawing up a revised proposal to an overhaul of its capital structure that the dairy company proposed in May after completing the first phase of talks with its farmer shareholders. Shares of New Zealand’s top dairy cooperative have fallen around a fifth since it laid out a range of options to overhaul its capital structure and allow farmers easier entry to the cooperative as it seeks to firm up its financial future. Since then, the New Zealand company said it has had 90 meetings with farmers, with 5,000 of them directly engaging with the company. It has more than 10,000 farmer shareholders. (Reuters, 07/19/21)  

    Latvian dairy products manufacturer Food Union has released two new ice cream flavors based on cocktail favorites under its Ekselence brand. Ekselence Caramel Pina Colada ice cream is launching in Latvia, while Ekselence Orange Spritz will be available in Norway and Latvia. The new products aim to “capture the essence of a cocktail on a stick.” Meanwhile, the national tourism development agency in Lithuania is hoping to attract tourists with “unexpected” ice cream flavors, such as cucumber, lavender, nettle, and even marinated mackerel ice cream. (FoodBev.com, 07/19/21; Dairy Reporter, 07/20/21) 

    Bulgarian meat and dairy company Dimitar Madzharov-2 is investing more than EU$500,000 (US$588,600) in a new milk production line. The company is financing 60% of the investment with its own funds while the rest is sourced from a subsidy under EU’s Rural Development Program … Norwegian food company Orkla Food Ingredients has entered into an agreement to purchase the Swiss company Hans Kaspar to strengthen its position in the confectionary and ice cream ingredients market … Three dairy processors in Quebec, Canada, will receive government funding to boost production and capacity. An investment of up to C$222,975 (US$174,766) will be made to Les Fromages Latino Inc., while La Fromagerie du Presbytere will receive up to C$230,000 (US$180,617) and up to C$83,552 (US$65,487) is being earmarked for Fromagerie La Station, Inc. … Fonterra has developed a milk bottle made from Brazilian sugar cane. The container is now on sale in New Zealand supermarkets … UK dairy processors Medina Dairy and Freshways Dairy have entered into a merger agreement to establish a more sustainable and progressive dairy business. Under the terms of the agreement, the merged business will be called Medina Freshways. (See News, 07/19/21; FoodBev.com, 07/14/21; Dairy Reporter, 07/20/21; Dairy News, 07/20/21; FoodBev.com, 07/21/21) 

    August-3

    An engineering firm filed an appeal with An Bord Pleanála, an Irish quasi-judicial body that rules on planning disagreements, to halt an expansion project at Ornua’s Kerrygold manufacturing site in Mitchelstown, Ireland. The appeal claims that the decision to allow construction of the €40-million (about US$47-million) butter expansion did not take into account the impact of effluent odor or traffic on the local community or the climate impacts from increased milk production to supply the facility. An Bord Pleanála will rule on the appeal by Nov. 23, but Ornua has already said construction (which was to start by the end of summer), will be delayed. This is the second major Irish dairy plant project stalled by environmental appeals after planning permission was granted. A joint-venture cheese plant in Belview, Ireland, by Glanbia Ireland and the Netherlands’ Royal A-Ware, was held up by multiple challenges before gaining final approval last month. The two incidents illustrate the increasingly rocky road Irish dairy processors may face as the nation’s milk supply rises. (Agriland, 8/3/21)

    Idaho’s High Desert Milk completed a $50-million expansion that increases annual butter output by more than 18,000 MT and adds MPC70 to its product portfolio. The facility in Burley, Idaho, can produce more than 16,000 MT of MPC70 annually. High Desert says 60% of the MPC is earmarked for customers in Latin America. (Pacific Northwest Ag Network, 7/29/21)

    In another sign of rising interest in cheese in China, dairy processor Shanghai Milkground Foods Tech and the Chinese Nutrition Society established the Cheese Nutrition and Innovation Research Center. The facility will conduct research on the nutritional benefits of cheese, new product R&D and sensory evaluation, all with the aim of expanding Chinese cheese consumption. (USDEC China office)

    Nestlé and Starbucks announced a new collaboration to bring Starbucks ready-to-drink coffee beverages to select markets across Southeast Asia, Oceania and Latin America. The agreement, which expands a three-year-old partnership on Starbucks coffee and tea products outside of Starbucks stores, will originally cover existing brands and products but the companies said they would “continue to develop a strong innovation pipeline.” (Company reports)

    Private-equity fund Axxon purchased a majority stake in Alibra Ingredientes, a Brazilian manufacturer of dairy and non-dairy food ingredients, powdered food mixes and cheese substitutes for the food and beverage industries. Alibra has plants in Campinas, São Paulo, and Marechal Cândido Rondon, Paraná, and exports to Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. (USDEC South America office)

    New product rollouts in key markets continue to focus on health and wellness and delivering to the consumer needs of the region. A few of the latest from China and Thailand include:

    • Thailand’s CP Meiji launched a ready-to-drink yogurt in a shot format that is high in vitamin C and probiotics. The company is marketing Meiji Pro-C as an immune booster.
    • Thailand’s Dutch Mill Group developed a new yogurt featuring a probiotic that the company claims reduces stress. The Dutchy line comes in two flavors: yuzu-orange (with orange flakes) and pomegranate-Earl Grey (with coconut jelly).
    • Nestlé launched its first two products under China’s “blue hat” certification program: a glucosamine and calcium-fortified milk powder and a probiotic protein powder. The blue-hat program (so-called because the logo resembles a blue hat) requires years of testing, clinical trials and regulatory hurdles to prove functional health benefits of a product. Nestlé is touting the products for healthy aging, marketing the glucosamine powder as contributing to increased bone density and the probiotic as enhancing immunity. Both products will be sold under Nestlé’s Yiyang brand.
    • China’s Yili Group launched a cream foam product to meet demand from the milk tea sector. The foam is made using whipping cream and cheddar cheese, with the cheddar content reportedly more than 16%. (Company reports; USDEC China office; USDEC Southeast Asia office)

    UK-based Bridge Cheese is doubling capacity at its Telford, England, plant. The expansion plan comes on the heels of a decision to focus on export markets outside the EU, including pizza cheese and other varieties aimed at foodservice buyers . . . Singapore-based Olam International plans to build a new milk processing facility in New Zealand. Media reports suggest the location will be Tokoroa on the North Island. More details are expected in the coming months . . . Coca-Cola reportedly plans to launch fairlife milk in China. No details were provided . . . China’s Mengniu Dairy signed a partnership with ecommerce platform MissFresh under which MissFresh will offer the full range of Mengniu’s 70 dairy products from milk to yogurt to ice cream. As part of the deal, the companies will develop and launch a new yogurt product customized to Chinese consumer preferences, based on direct feedback from buyers . . . CKE Restaurants, parent of Carl’s Jr., signed a master franchise deal with Australian franchisor CJ’s QSR Group that calls for 200 new Australian Carl’s Jr. units over the next 10 years . . . Malaysian conglomerate and dairy processor Johore Tin is changing its name to Able Global(USDEC China office; USDEC Southeast Asia office; DairyReporter.com, 8/2/21; Dow Jones Newswires, 7/26/21; Franchising.com, 7/15/21; BusinessDesk, 7/13/21)

    In July, when an Irish High Court dismissed an appeal to halt construction on a new €140-million (about US$164-million) cheese plant in Belview, it appeared that the long-delayed project—a joint venture between Glanbia Ireland and the Netherlands’ Royal A-Ware—would finally get off the ground. Those hopes were dashed this week when Irish environmental watchdog An Taisce sought leave to appeal the High Court ruling to the Irish Supreme Court. This is An Taisce’s fourth challenge to the facility and it further highlights the growing focus on environmental issues and sustainability related to the world’s dairy sector. Just last week, Ornua saw its plans for a butter plant expansion put on hold due to impact on the community and environment. An Taisce cited a series of reports from the Irish Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities noting “the impacts of intensive agriculture and water and air quality and the increasing greenhouse gas emissions” from the dairy sector. Referring specifically to the Belview project, it said “the consequences for Irish rural communities are enormous and irreversible.” The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association noted that several government agencies have reviewed and approved the project, saying that it aligned with national efforts to transition the dairy sector to a more sustainable model. Glanbia expressed disappointment with An Taisce’s move and reiterated that it is “committed to bringing this project to fruition,” despite the two-year-and-counting delay The company restated that the plant is critical to the company’s post-Brexit market diversification strategy. (Leinster Express, 8/9/21; Agriland, 8/9/21)

    Milk Specialties Global purchased the 96,000-sq.ft. Kay’s Processing plant in Clara City, Minn. The company plans to expand the plant to meet demand for extruded protein products . . . Illinois-based kefir maker Lifeway Foods is paying $6 million to acquire certain assets of California’s GlenOaks Farms drinkable yogurt business. (FoodBev.com, 8/11/21, 8/5/21)

    Qatari vertically integrated dairy processor Baladna signed a memorandum of understanding with Malaysian state-owned rural landowner FELCRA Berhad and agribusiness firm FGV Holdings. The deal, which builds on an announcement earlier this year that Baladna had started some preliminary scoping work on farm and plant sites in Malaysia, calls for a feasibility study for building an integrated farm and processing site in the Malaysian state of Perlis. The initial plan is to build a 10,000-cow farm producing 100,000 MT of milk per year. The partners did not comment on processing plans. The MOU also leaves room for additional projects, such as developing land to grow feed. Malaysia expressed hope that the project could help reduce its dependency on dairy imports. (USDEC Southeast Asia and Middle East/North Africa offices)

    Vietnamese dairy processor Vinamilk is forming a 50/50 joint venture with Del Monte Philippines. Under the terms of the deal, Vinamilk will produce co-branded Del Monte-Vinamilk dairy products and Del Monte will import and market them in the island nation. The agreement provides Vinamilk with access to a new consumer market and allows Del Monte to expand its footprint in a new product category. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Manila Times, 8/18/21)

    Nestlé is considering a takeover bid for Australia’s A2 Milk Co., according to The Australian. The paper also reported that Kirin Lion was also interested in A2 . . . Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association purchased grocery retailer Harris Teeter’s Hunter Farms dairy processing plant in High Point, N.C. . . . Holding companies Duxton Asset Management and Gray Wigg Gault, which own two of Australia’s largest dairy farm portfolios, are selling a combined 9,000 acres of dairy land for an estimated aggregate price of A$70 million (about US$51 million). Much of the land is reportedly already under contract, a sign of positive dairy industry sentiment in Australia. (Radio New Zealand, 8/16/21; The Charlotte Observer, 8/17/21; Farm Online, 8/13/21)

    Danone, a global food company and the owner of Horizon Organic, plans to terminate contracts next year with its organic dairy farmers in Vermont and other parts of the Northeast, leaving farmers without buyers for their milk. In total, 79 farmers from Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Maine received letters with the news. “This is certainly a threat to the organic market in Vermont,” says Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “There are only three buyers of organic milk in Vermont right now. With one exiting the region, the other two don’t have a lot of capacity to take on those farmers at this time.” (VTDigger, 8/23/21; WCAX News in Burlington, Vt., 8/23/21).

    LR Group, an Israeli company, is seeking to establish the Caribbean region’s most advanced dairy farm in Guyana and produce more than 4 million liters of milk annually. It’s being done in collaboration with Guyana’s Demerara Distillers Limited. According to Joseph Harrosh, director of the LR Group, Guyana is “ripe” for agricultural development. (News Room, 8/24/21) 

    UK dairy company First Milk has announced it has invested in soil carbon measurement company, Agricarbon, acquiring a 5% stake in the business. Agricarbon specializes in evidencing and valuing soil carbon sequestration – the crucial evidence needed to back up livestock farming’s claim that properly managed grassland can store as much greenhouse gas as cows release … Finnish company Huhtamaki, a global specialist in packaging for food and drink, has agreed to acquire Turkish flexible packaging provider Elif for €412 million (US$483 million) … Nestlé has upgraded its research and development center in Singapore to feature labs, experimental kitchens, consumer testing, sensory evaluation rooms and open working spaces. The company says this will enable faster translation of science into products for people across all life stages … Saudia Dairy and Foodstuff Company (SADAFCO) in Saudi Arabia has announced the opening of a new ice cream factory in Modon Industrial City No. 1, Jeddah. On completion, it will be the highest output per square meter dairy factory in the Middle East, supporting the Kingdom’s “Made in Saudi” program … Chinese infant milk formula maker Feihe has released its first-half 2021 financial results and year-on-year revenue is up 32.6%. Data shows Feihe has maintained double-digit growth for five consecutive years. (DairyReporter.com, 8/24/21; The Scottish Farmer, 8/24/21; FoodBev Media, 8/18/21; DairyReporter.com, 8/24/21; USDEC Middle East office, USDEC China office) 

    September-3Switzerland’s Emmi Group is buying the Athenos feta cheese business from Lactalis Group. Lactalis had acquired the line with its buyout of the Kraft Heinz natural cheese business, and is now selling it to align with conditions identified during the antitrust review of the Kraft Heinz deal. Emmi called feta “an attractive growth segment,” adding that the business complements its specialty cheese offerings. Emmi Roth USA will manage the business. Athenos products have been contract manufactured, processed and distributed for some years, and Emmi said it is keen to preserve the established relationships. (Company reports)

    Canada’s Saputo purchased aseptic food and beverage manufacturer Carolina Aseptic and refrigerated yogurt maker Carolina Dairy. The deal includes processing plants in Troy and Biscoe, N.C. Saputo said the deal will help the company capture rising demand for aseptic protein beverages and nutritional snacks. (Company reports)

    New Zealand’s Westland Dairy Co. and Chinese parent Yili Group plan to launch Yili Pro UHT Whipping Cream after two-years of planning and development. The companies worked together to create the product specifically for Chinese bakers, a process that included visits to each other’s production facilities and farms. In an example of how global suppliers need to tailor operations to meet export customer needs, Westland said it had to rethink its production methods to deliver the product. A key hurdle was overcoming the inherent variability of Westland’s grass-fed milk to produce a cream with a consistency suitable for Chinese bakers but that could deliver functionally in a variety of applications, including cake decorating, mousse and milk foam. The product is set to roll out in October. (eDairy News, 8/26/21: NZX, 8/23/21)

    Australasian Solutions is building a new 75,000-sq.-ft. factory in Camperdown, New South Wales, to manufacture nutritional supplements, sports drinks and long-life milk for export to China and Southeast Asia . . . U.S. restaurant chain Pizza Inn plans to open its first unit in Qatar in March 2022, with four more to follow. The announcement comes after Texas-based Pizza Inn owner RAVE Restaurant Group signed a deal with master licensee Walid Haider, chairman of Azalea Investment in Dubai . . . Pennsylvania-based Duck Donuts is opening its first store in Saudi Arabia through franchisee Anjal Arabia Trading. Anjal Arabia plans to open further units throughout the country. Duck Donuts also has a store in Dubai, with another unit on tap for Egypt . . . Krispy Kreme is opening its first store Egypt in Cairo and expects to launch 10 more over the next 12 months. “When the North African opportunity came, it wasn’t that hard for us to think about the 100 million population and 20 million in Cairo,” Krispy Kreme’s CEO told Bloomberg News(USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Bloomberg News, 8/30/21; Farm Online, 8/28/21)

    Olam Food Ingredients New Zealand, a recently incorporated subsidiary of Singapore-based Olam International, confirmed that it plans to build a new dairy processing plant in Tokoroa on the North Island. The company, which first announced its intent to build such a plant in August, expects to have the first stage of the factory (a spray drying line) operational by the third quarter of 2023. Additional facilities will then be added over time. The focus of the plant will be dairy ingredients for export markets, targeting food and beverage makers (bakery, confectionery, desserts and drinks). Olam says it is already working on milk supply contracts, even though the facility still requires environmental consents. (Stuff.co.nz, 9/14/21; New Zealand Herald, 9/13/21)

    Valio signed a deal with DKSH for the distribution of Valio specialty milk powders to industrial customers in Southeast Asia. DKSH is a distribution services company based in Switzerland but with extensive business and contacts throughout the Asia Pacific. Valio and DKSH said they see significant collaboration potential in the Southeast Asian market for various gut-friendly, value-added and wellness products, including Valio’s lactose-free product line and ingredients for seniors. The deal will initially make Valio’s specialty milk powders available to end-users in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Singapore. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; company reports)

    New Zealand’s Synlait Milk sold its Auckland, North Island, facility and announced it was slashing up to 150 jobs as part of a broader “review and reset” of its business structure. The company, which has seen profits sink with the fortunes of major customer A2 Milk, expects to lose NZ$20 million-NZ$30 million this year (about US$14 million to US$21 million). It sold the Auckland property for NZ$30 million and leased it back for an initial term of 10 years (with rights of renewal). The facility includes blending and canning operations, warehousing and offices. (Company reports; Stuff.co.nz, 9/10/21)

    UK retail trade magazine The Grocer published a piece on the promise and the challenges of major dairy suppliers doing business in Africa. “For any serious company that wants to be big in exports, Africa has to be somewhere in their thinking,” John Giles, divisional director at consultancy Promar International, is quoted as stating in the article

    BelGioioso Cheese purchased the Polly-O cheese business from Lactalis Group. Lactalis had acquired Polly-O in its buyout of the Kraft Heinz natural cheese business, and sold it to align with conditions identified during the antitrust review of the Kraft Heinz deal . . . Abu Dhabi-based dairy, food and water company Agthia Group purchased Dubai-based BMB Group, a maker of “healthy” snacks. Earlier this year, Agthia announced plans to expand throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan through acquisitions. The BMB purchase follows its purchase of a 60% stake in processed meat company Nabil Food in May. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Supermarket Perimeter, 9/16/21)

    Israeli dairy processor Tnuva and the UAE’s Emirates Food Industries (EFI) entered a partnership wherein Tnuva will help EFI expand its product portfolio, starting with labneh. Tnuva will help EFI begin labneh production in Dubai in return for royalties . . . Urs Reidner, CEO of Switzerland’s Emmi, is stepping down at the end of 2022. The company plans to announce a new CEO next spring . . . Arla Foods spent US$35 million to double organic milk handling capacity at its dairy facility in Götene, Sweden. This comes after an $11-million project to expand butter output at Götene earlier this year . . . Mead Johnson China Business Group appointed Leo Zhu as president. The announcement came the day after Primavera Capital completed its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser Group’s Infant Formula and Child Nutrition business in China. Zhu has held several positions in the infant formula market in China including as CEO of a domestic nutrition company . . . Del Monte Pacific said it said it expects its partnership with Vinamilk will yield revenues of $5 million to $7 million in the first year but would require additional investments in marketing(USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; Reuters, 9/12/21)

    New Zealand dairy processor Miraka signed strategic partnership deals with state-owned milk and agriculture producer Pamu and Maori-owned dairy manufacturer Waiu Dairy. Miraka calls the endeavor an opportunity to “build the presence of specialty New Zealand dairy products in the international market.” Shared knowledge and production capacity will provide Miraka with greater flexibility to produce a broader range of niche products, the company said, as well as improve operational efficiencies. (Company reports)

    Great Lakes Cheese plans to begin construction on its new $500-million cheese plant in Franklinville, N.Y., in Spring 2022 and complete the facility by early 2025. Its existing Cuba, N.Y., plant is expected to close once the new facility is up and running. (FingerLakes1, 9/17/21) 

    October-3Ireland's Supreme Court agreed to hear An Taisce's appeal to deny planning permission for a new joint-venture cheese plant by Glanbia Ireland and the Netherlands' Royal A-ware. Irish environmental watchdog An Taisce has challenged the plant project multiple times, citing ecological concerns. The Irish Farmers Association expects the decision will delay the already postponed plant by another six months, assuming the court sides with the dairy processors. (Agriland, 9/24/21; The Journal, 9/24/21)

    Fonterra Cooperative Group said it was launching a process to divest its Chilean holdings and was considering an IPO for its Fonterra Australia division (with the intention of retaining a majority stake) . . . Synlait Milk named Grant Watson as its new CEO. Watson, currently CEO of Kiwi dairy processor Miraka, will replace John Penno, who temporarily stepped in to lead the company after the departure of former chief Leon Clement earlier this year . . . Australia’s Van Dairy said it plans to spend up to A$30 million (about US$22 million) to build a milk powder facility in Woolnorth, Tasmania, and retool a building in Somerset, Tasmania, as a packaging plant . . . Nestlé launched its MilkPak A2 shelf-stable milk in Pakistan. The company is marketing the product as being easier to digest than regular milk and claims it is the first A2 milk on the market in Pakistan . . . As part of a plan to reduce plastic waste, Synlait Milk plans to launch stainless steel reusable milk bottles starting this month on New Zealand’s South Island. The “Swappa Bottle” program will widen distribution over time. (Company reports; Otago Daily Times, 9/27/21; Farm Online, 9/27/21; Stuff.co.nz, 9/27/21; Dawn, 9/24/21)

    Leprino Foods Company has announced plans to begin construction of a new, state-of-the-art 850,000 square foot dairy manufacturing facility in Lubbock, Texas. Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in June 2022 and will be completed in two phases by early 2026. The new Lubbock site represents an $870 million capital investment and is expected to employ approximately 600 full-time personnel when it is fully operational. The facility will produce mozzarella cheese and dairy ingredients. The plant will supply some of the world’s leading food companies to help meet consumer demand for cheese and whey products both domestically and internationally. The plant will be built with sustainability in mind. The new facility will be one of Leprino Foods’ most sustainable plants and will be constructed with special features that will help decrease GHG footprint and water footprint, such as capturing heat from equipment like pasteurizers and using it elsewhere to reduce fuel consumption; advanced LED lighting and sensors; smart controllers on refrigeration systems to reduce electrical load; and water capture and reuse throughout the facility. (Company reports) 

    Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur has announced it will build a new cheese and dairy ingredients facility just north of an existing facility in Little Chute, Wisconsin. The $168 million investment is Agropur’s second largest ever in the U.S. after the expansion of its Lake Norden, South Dakota, facility in 2018. The new Wisconsin is expected to be fully operational by early 2023. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has announced $4.5 million in business tax credits for the project. (Dairy Reporter, 10/05/21; WBAY news staff, 10/04/21)  

    Groundbreaking recently took place at the future site of a new ultra-high temperature (UHT) and extended shelf-life (ESL) milk processing facility for California Dairies, Inc. CDI is building this state-of-the-art milk processing facility under the name Valley Natural Beverages. The project is being built in northern Kern County, California, a region with significant milk production but no local processing facilities. Not only will this investment significantly reduce the transportation distances of milk produced in Kern County, it will further demonstrate CDI’s commitment to sustainable solutions by incorporating renewable energy sources and waste conservation as key priorities in the facility and operational design. “This is an exciting day and marks the launch of a transformational investment being made by our farmer-owners,” said Brad Anderson, CDI’s president and chief executive officer, as he made opening comments at the Sept. 29 groundbreaking. The 220,000 square foot facility is expected to create approximately 100 new jobs when fully operational in 2023. (Company reports, 10/5/21)   

    New Zealand’s Happy Valley Nutrition says it has secured a supply agreement from “a respected European multi-national distributor of dairy products,” as it seeks commitments for a new milk plant in South Waikato … Danone Egypt has launched a “Zero Food Waste” initiative in partnership with The Egyptian Food Bank.  The company will donate its daily surplus of products to the Food Bank to benefit students and other eligible recipients … French dairy company Lactalis Group has acquired the European cheese brand Leerdammer. The purchase will allow Lactalis Group to establish itself at an industrial level in the Netherlands and will also boost its activity in Italy, Germany and Ukraine … Ed Mullins will step down as CEO of Prairie Farms Dairy and assume the role of senior executive officer. Matt McClelland will become the new CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2022. (Dairy News, 9/28/21; USDEC’s Middle East office; Dairy Reporter,10/04/21; Dairy Foods, 10/4/21)  

    Chinese dairy giant Yili Industrial Group is investing US$93 million in the wholly-owned subsidiary Yijiahao Cheese Co. to accelerate the development of its domestic cheese business. China’s retail cheese market remains small compared to the U.S., but cheese consumption is on the rise, with analysts estimating retail sales up 21-35% per year since 2015. Yili hopes to seize the growth opportunity. At present, the cheese division is a relatively small part of Yili’s overall business, but it has launched some significant successes, including a lollipop-shaped cheese for children. Natural cheese content of the lollipop is over 51% (compared to similar products on the market with natural cheese content of about 16%), and nutritional value exceeds that of similar products. Separately, Yili is reportedly exploring a potential takeover of Hong Kong-listed infant formula maker Ausnutria Dairy Corp. (USDEC China office)

    Ireland’s Ornua purchased Wisconsin-based Whitehall Specialties Inc., a supplier of cheese, plant-based cheese alternatives and analog products to the foodservice, manufacturing and retail sectors. Ornua said the purchase is central to its long-term strategy: “unlocking significant advanced capacity and flexibility to support existing and new customers’ ambitious growth plans.” (Company reports)

    Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI) opened a new 100,000-sq.-ft. innovation center in Nr Vium, Denmark. The building, adjacent to AFI’s Danmark Protein plant, includes labs for clinical trials, a pilot plant and office space for 100 scientists and technicians. AFI says it will use the facility for “all aspects of research and development within whey and milk—from advanced separation technology to improved functionality and shelf-life.” AFI expects to partner with leading researchers from academic institutions in Denmark (including Copenhagen and Aarhus Universities) and overseas (including the University of California-Davis). “Working with our scientific and industry partners, we’ll be able to undertake more research, embark on ambitious new projects and innovate to tackle some of the world’s most urgent food and nutrition challenges,” AFI said. Separately, AFI launched a new protein product: Lactoprodan BLG-100, made using a “patented new separation technology.” The products target people experiencing loss of muscle mass, including seniors and patients experiencing loss of mobility. (Company reports)

    Savencia Fromage & Dairy acquired Hope, a Colorado-based maker of hummus and plant-based dips . . . German dairy processor DMK Group sold its majority stake in German dairy production and trading company Fude + Serrahn Milchprodukte as part of a broader plan to focus on its core businesses. Fude+ Serrahn Asset Management now owns 90% of the business with DMK maintaining a 10% stake. (Company reports; Bloomberg, 9/30/20)

    Ireland’s Dairygold Co-operative Society appointed Conor Galvin as CEO-designate. Galvin will take over on Jan. 1 when current CEO Jim Woulfe steps down … Cell-based milk start-up TurtleTree Labs, headquartered in Singapore, opened a new R&D facility in West Sacramento, Calif. . . . Looking to reset its operations in the Middle East and accelerate expansion, Subway signed a new master franchise agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group (KOJ). The deal covers the UAE, which was previously handled by multiple franchisees. This is KOJ’s first foray into the food and beverage sector, but the company franchises several retail brands, including The Body Shop and Lego. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Agriland, 10/8/21; FoodBev.com, 10/5/21; Gulf News, 9/24/21)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina opened what is it calling an “Innovation Experience Centre” in Shanghai. The company said it plans to use the 13,000-sq.ft. facility to demonstrate its portfolio, corporate values and heritage to consumers, customers and other stakeholders. Through AI, testing and trial, live-streaming and other “next-gen” technologies at the center, FrieslandCampina believes it can better identify and target Chinese dairy and food preferences and needs. For more, see this FrieslandCampina press release(USDEC China office; Company reports)

    Glanbia Co-operative Society is reportedly weighing a bid to acquire the remaining 40% of dairy processor Glanbia Ireland. The co-op owns 60% of the company, with Glanbia plc holding the remainder. The transaction would cost the co-op an estimated €400-500 million (about US$466-582 million). . . . Oatley Group and Singapore’s Yeo Hiap Seng Ltd. opened their new joint-venture oat beverage facility in Singapore. It is Oatley’s first manufacturing plant outside Europe and North America. . . . Separately, Australian milk alternative supplier MILKLAB launched its oat milk in coffee shops and other foodservice venues in Singapore. . . . German dairy processor DMK unveiled its entry into the plant-based dairy alternative sector at this month’s ANUGA expo in Europe. DMK’s line of vegan “cheese” will debut in spring 2022. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; The Irish Times, 10/17/21)

    Less than two months after announcing a joint venture to build a 10,000-cow dairy farm in Malaysia, Qatari dairy producer/processor Baladna is at it again. The company plans to develop a 10,000-cow dairy farm in Ukraine. The plan aligns with a Ukrainian government initiative to overhaul its agriculture sector to modernize and raise efficiency. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office)

    A trio of Brazilian dairy processors is expanding manufacturing operations. Unium, a dairy processor owned by cooperatives Frisia, Castrolanda and Capal, began producing MPC at its plan in Paraná. The company claims it is the first MPC produced in Brazil. . . . Canto de Minas opened a new US$7-million expansion at its Minas Gerais facility. The project will triple cheese and cream cheese output. . . . Laticínios Tirol inaugurated a US$27-million UHT milk expansion at its Ipiranga, Paraná, facility. (USDEC South America office)

    November-4Italy-based cheese and fresh dairy products maker Granarolo acquired Connecticut fresh cheese company Calabro Cheese Corp. and fellow Italian cheesemaker Mario Costa. Granarolo said the Calabro acquisition, which includes a plant in East Haven, Conn., will help the company build a “strategic platform to import and distribute a wide range” of cheeses from Italy. The acquisition of Mario Costa (which includes a plant outside of Novara, Italy) expands Granarolo’s Italian milk pool and extends its cheese portfolio into gorgonzola. (Company reports; FoodBev.com, 10/26/21)

    China’s Yili Industrial Group, through its Hong Kong subsidiary Jingang Trade Holding Co., purchased a 34% stake in Hong Kong-listed goat milk formula maker Ausnutria Dairy. Yili said the deal will bolster its share of China’s infant formula market as well as facilitate the company’s entry into nutrition products, where Ausnutria has significant operations. . . . China dairy processor New Hope Dairy purchased a 5% stake in Singapore-based AustAsia Investment Holdings, AustAsia acquired two of Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Chinese dairy farms earlier this year(Company reports)

    Ireland’s Dairygold Co-operative Society launched Aerabo brand whole milk powder for adults in China. The company projects the compound annual growth rate for adult milk powder market in China at 15-20% over the next three year. . . . Australian goat milk infant formula maker Bubs expanded into cow’s milk products with the launch of its new “Family Nutrition” line of milk powders. The company says it has already signed supply agreements for the new line with distribution and retail partners in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, East Africa and the Pacific Islands beginning in the second quarter of 2022. . . . Starbucks plans to open 2,000 net new locations in the current fiscal year (which started in October). That would be its largest expansion in four years. About 75% of the new units are destined for international locations, including China. . . . Subway signed a development deal with Everstone Group, a private investment firm focused on South Asia. Everstone plans to develop 2,000 new Subway units in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh over the next 10 years, more than tripling the company’s presence in the region. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Restaurant Business, 11/2/21, 11/1/21)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina has built what it is calling a “mobile yogurt plant” for use in Nigeria. Constructed in the Netherlands out of five 40-ft. shipping containers, the plant can produce more than 18 million pouches of drinking yogurt per year. The company says processing capacity can be quickly scaled up and expects to have the facility up and running in the first quarter of 2022. The project is part of Nigeria’s Dairy Development Program that aims to increase local milk production, improve milk quality and create more market opportunities for Nigerian farmers. FrieslandCampina exports to Nigeria but has also been operating its own Nigerian dairy plant—FrieslandCampina WAMCO—since 1974 and acquired Nigerian dairy processor Nutricima in 2020. (Company reports)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group is collaborating with Massachusetts-based VitaKey, a company that specializes in nutrition delivery technology. Fonterra is looking to design dairy products that incorporate targeted and time-controlled release of specific dairy nutrients, starting with probiotics, in a way that improves freshness and allows the nutrients “to be more active and beneficial in the body,” Fonterra says. Fonterra expects the partnership to “really drive” its “Active Living” business with products that appeal to the growing health and wellness consumer sector. (Company reports)

    Danone-owned Alpro is investing £41 million (about US$56 million) in its dairy alternative manufacturing plant in Kettering, UK. When complete, the plant will be able to produce 300 million liters of plant-based beverages per year. . . After entering the UAE market earlier this year, Philippine carabao ice cream maker Arce Dairy is planning to expand to the rest of the GCC. Arce is working through its distributor in the region, SandBox. . . . Saputo named Lyne Castonguay as president and COO, Dairy Division (USA), effective Nov. 4, and reaffirmed that Leanne Cutts took over as president and COO, Dairy Division (International and Europe), effective Sept. 20. (Company reports; FoodBev.com, 11/4/21; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 11/3/21)

    Glanbia PLC’s sale of 40% of Glanbia Ireland to Glanbia Co-op will allow the public company to focus on its two growth platforms—Nutritionals and Performance Nutrition—as well as pursue new strategic joint ventures. Glanbia Ireland was a joint venture between the PLC and the co-op, with Glanbia Co-op owning 60%. The co-op is paying €307 million (about US$351 million) for the outstanding 40%. Half of the funding is coming from selling a chunk of shares in the PLC. Glanbia Co-op owned a 32.4% stake in the PLC; that will drop to 24% after the deal. The co-op plans to use part of the proceeds from its sale of the PLC shares to create an investment fund to finance acquisitions or other new opportunities. It is working with KPMG to develop a growth strategy. The co-op said the purchase will provide greater flexibility to support its farmer members. Once the deal is approved, the co-op and Glanbia Ireland will change their names to a new joint identity. Glanbia Ireland CEO Jim Bergin will lead the new organization. (Agriland, 11/15/21; Irish Farmers Journal, 11/10/21; Irish Examiner, 11/10/21; RTE, 11/10/21)

    Turkish dairy contract manufacturer Gönenli Süt is getting into the infant formula business. The company is building a new formula and extended shelf-life (ESL) milk plant in Akhiser, Turkey. The facility, Turkey’s first infant formula manufacturing operation, according to Gönenli Süt, will produce up to 13,800 MT of formula per year. The company did not reveal the new plant’s fluid milk capacity, but did say it expects the facility will be up and running in March 2023. Gönenli Süt plans to service both domestic and export markets from Akhiser. (Company reports; FoodTechBiz, 11/13/21)

    Brazilian dairy processors Betânia Lacteos and Embaré Indústrias Alimentícias are merging. Together, the two companies handle nearly 5,000 MT of raw milk per day at nine manufacturing plants, producing 220 products sold in 45 nations. . . . Specialist food investor BiaVest has partnered with Development Capital to acquire Irish yogurt maker Nomadic Dairy. . . . (Diário Do Comércio, 10/29/21; FoodBev.com, 11/11/21)

    New Zealand’s Halo Food Co., formerly Keytone Dairy, signed a memorandum of strategic cooperation with Chinese distributor Theland New Cloud (Shanghai) Digimart, a unit of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba. Under the terms of the deal, Halo will manufacture Theland milk powder products (including WMP, SMP and nutritional powders) for export to China. Halo says the two-year deal is valued at US$38 million. . . . Canada’s Saputo plans to build a US$60-million office, cut-and-wrap and distribution facility in Franklin, Wis. . . . Egypt’s Edita Food Industries plans to launch manufacturing operations in Morocco this month with the opening of a new cake production facility. The Moroccan venture is part of the company’s regional expansion ambitions. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 11/11/21; Business Journal, 11/7/21)

    December-3Danone is converting a dairy processing plant in Villecomtal-sur-Arros, France, to produce plant-based products. Construction on the project, costing €43 million (about US$49 million), is slated to start in the fall of 2022 with production beginning in the second quarter of 2023. The company is making the change to “seize growth opportunities in plant products and meet new consumer expectations.” The Danone announcement was one of many in the dairy-alternative space over the last couple weeks, including:

    • FrieslandCampina entered the plant-based protein category with the launch of two powder products developed in collaboration with AGT Foods. The products are made from peas and fava beans.
    • Sweden’s Oatly Group opened its first manufacturing facility in China. The plant can produce 150 million liters of oat-based products annually.
    • California-based Perfect Day, which makes “animal-free milk proteins” using cow genes and fermentation technology, entered the sports nutrition market with ready-to-mix protein powder. The company is partnering on the project with Canada-based “wellness company” Natreve to market the line under the Mooless (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; MarketLine NewsWire, 11/18/21; Reuters 11/17/21)


    Netherlands-based margarine, spreads and plant-based foods specialist Upfield purchased Unilever’s processing plant in Cali, Colombia. The company plans to make Colombia the center of its South American operations. . . . Private-equity fund FountainVest Partners paid about $160-million to purchase China F&B Group from Swedish buyout firm EQT. China F&B is the franchisee for Papa John’s Pizza and Dairy Queen in China. . . . Mondelez International is reportedly considering buying the Snackworks snack business of South African consumer goods company AVI(Acquisitions Daily, 11/24/21; Leaders League, 11/22/21; Bloomberg, 11/18/21)

    Canada-based pizza chain Pizza Pizza Ltd. signed a master franchise agreement with Guadalajara-based KSG/GrunCorp to develop and grow the restaurant’s business in Mexico. . . . Greek dairy company FAGE plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Hoogeveen, Netherlands. The €150-million (US$170-million) facility will be able to produce 40,000 MT of yogurt annually. FAGE expects the plant will begin production in the second half of 2024. . . . Danone Egypt is considering expanding production capacity at its manufacturing plant in Obour, Egypt, by 30-40% over the next two years. The Obour facility reportedly houses nine production lines. Danone also runs what it says is the third largest dairy farm in Egypt—a 5,000-cow operation in Nubaria. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; The Canadian Press, 12/1/21; Ekathimerini.com, 11/25/21)

    Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) will assume ownership of Ohio-based Superior Dairy effective Dec. 31, 2021. Superior Dairy is a subsidiary of LEL Operating Co., and MMPA will acquire not only Superior but also LEL Logistics and Creative Edge Design Group. MMPA said the deal brings needed value-added processing capacity and will boost innovation capacity and product diversity as well. (Company reports)

    Subway and Cinnabon signed franchise deals to expand their respective businesses in Saudi Arabia. Subway inked a master franchise agreement with Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. to add 145 new locations in the kingdom (Saudi Arabia already has 210 Subways). Cinnabon signed a deal with Innovative Union Co. to bring 130 new bakeries to Saudi Arabia over the next five years, raising the total number of Cinnabon units in the country to 250. (Company reports; USDEC Middle East/North Africa office)

    Confectionery giant Ferrero Group, headquartered in Luxembourg, purchased the remaining shares of Spanish ice cream manufacturer Ice Cream Factory Comaker (ICFC). Ferrero purchased a controlling stake in ICFC in 2019. (Company reports)

    Glanbia Nutritionals is spending €1.4 million (about US$1.6 million) to upgrade its R&D facility in Kilkenny, Ireland. The project, set for completion in the third quarter of 2022, aims to encourage more face-to-face customer interactions and meetings, accelerating the new product development process, with a focus on “healthy” snacks. . . . Vietnam’s Vinamilk launched organic fluid milk in China. The company said it has had strong interest in the product from both online and brick-and-mortar channels. . . . Saudi Arabia Dairy & Foodstuff Co. (SADAFCO) hired former Nestlé and DKSH Group executive Patrick Stillhart as its new CEO. Stillhart replaces Waltherus Matthijs, who stepped down in October after leading the company for 14 years. . . . Indonesia’s Cisarua Mountain Dairy (Cimory) raised $255 million in an IPO this month. The company expects to use the funds to expand production capacity, strengthen its distribution network and support the livelihoods of stakeholders, including small farms. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; Asian Development Bank; Food Ingredients First, 12/7/21)

    China’s Yili Group officially opened phase 1 of its Indonesian ice cream manufacturing plant—its first self-built factory in Southeast Asia. The company built the plant to meet rising demand for its Joyday ice cream brand in the region, and when phase 2 of the facility is complete, it will be able to produce four million frozen dessert items per day. The site also includes Yili’s new Southeast Asia Innovation Center, designed to work together with universities and R&D centers throughout the region, as well as Yili’s operations in Thailand. The aim is for a greater range of products tailored to regional tastes. See this video from FoodBev.com for a look at the plant. (Company reports; FoodBev.com, 12/13/21)

    Colombian dairy processor Alpina purchased a stake in California-based dairy Clover Sonoma. Clover Sonoma said the deal will help facilitate growth in the U.S. market. The size of the stake and purchase price were not reported. . . . The Urgent Co., the consumer brands subsidiary of “animal-free” dairy technology company Perfect Day, purchased the Coolhaus ice cream brand from Sunrise Strategic Partners. Urgent plans to transition Coolhaus production from starting with milk to starting with its milk-protein-fermentation technology. (USDEC South America office; Company reports; Food Business News, 12/13/21)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group said it would invest about NZ$1 billion (about US$675 million) in sustainability and NZ$1 billion to move milk to higher value products over the next nine years. . . . Dairy Farmers of America will close its Country Delite Farms manufacturing plant in Nashville in February 2022. . . . Kraft Heinz is combining its Canadian and U.S. businesses to create a North America Zone. The U.S. and Canadian businesses accounted for 80% of net sales last year. Current U.S. Zone president Carlos Abrams-Rivera will head the new unit; Canada Zone president Bruno Keller will take over as chief of the company’s Latin America Zone. (FoodBev.com, 12/13/21; Dow Jones Newswires, 12/8/21)

    French dairy giant Lactalis inaugurated a new drying tower at its Verdun, France, manufacturing site. The new tower can produce 30,000 MT of whey powder annually, putting the plant’s total capacity at 75,000 MT per year. Lactalis hopes to use the addition to produce more whey for human food applications and develop international whey markets. The plant utilizes proprietary technology to manufacture what Lactalis says is a “high fluidity” powder that is particularly suited to export markets with hot and humid conditions. The multi-year project cost €45 million (about US$51 million). (Company reports; Dairy Industries International, 12/16/21)

    New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office gave a green light to Olam International’s Kiwi subsidiary, Olam Food Ingredients, to build an NZ$100-million-plus (US$67-million-plus) dairy ingredients plant at Tokoroa in South Waikato on the North Island. The facility, expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2023, will produce ingredients for overseas foodservice markets. Olam has hired GEA New Zealand as the principal contractor for the facility. (New Zealand Herald, 12/14/21)

    China’s Mengniu Dairy is launching a series of shelf-stable processed cheese products aimed at expanding cheese-eating occasions. The line addresses refrigerated supply chain distribution challenges that limit cheese marketing in China and will allow the company to ship more easily to third-, fourth- and fifth-tier cities. . . . McCain Foods USA is investing $169 million to expand its appetizer manufacturing plant in Plover, Wis. Part of that expansion is a line (that will run 24/7) to produce cheese-based appetizers. (USDEC China office; Baking Business, 12/13/21)

    Mark O'Keefe is vice president of editorial services at the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

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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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