Neighbouring Fonterra and A-ware plants get the royal treatment at opening

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fonterra's Theo Spierings, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Royal A-ware's Jan Anker officially opened their adjacent plants earlier today.
Fonterra's Theo Spierings, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Royal A-ware's Jan Anker officially opened their adjacent plants earlier today.

Related tags: Milk

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was on hand to officially open Fonterra's first wholly-owned and operated European ingredients plant. 

Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings, and Jan Anker, CEO, Royal A-ware Foods, joined King Willem-Alexander yesterday to unveil their neighboring plants in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. 

Fonterra and A-ware agreed to establish the separate but "mutually beneficial"​ adjacent plants in March 2013.

Whey from the A-ware cheese plant, where operations began in December 2014, is supplied to the neighboring Fonterra plant, where it is converted into whey protein and lactose. 

Fonterra will produce 5,000 tonnes of whey protein and 25,000 tonnes of lactose per year at its facility, which went online in January.

"Our strategy is a good fit with A-ware's long term vision, so it's a win-win for both companies and it's great to see the partnership come to fruition,"​ said Spierings. 

"We have substantial intellectual property in manufacturing functional whey protein ingredients, and having a high-quality, high-volume source based in Europe will allow us to commercialise these innovations for our customers all over the world."

"Strategic partnership"

A-ware, which became Royal A-ware in March when it was awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment, said the investment will allow it and Fonterra to "work together in a highly strategic way."

“This strategic partnership logically connects two successful businesses so they can optimally align their chain from consumer to cow, thereby effectively meeting the demands of the end user,​” said A-ware CEO, Anker.

Production-underway-at-Fonterra-s-first-wholly-owned-European-plant_strict_xxl
Production at Fonterra's Heerenveen plant began in January.

Work at the Heerenveen plants is, however, not complete.

Last month, solar panels were installed on the roof of both plants, and Fonterra and A-ware are now investigating whether their remaining power needs can be met through geothermal energy. 

European sourcing

Today's ceremony marks the latest milestone in Fonterra's European sourcing efforts, which began in 2011, when it formed a joint venture with British dairy processor, First Milk.

It later partnered with Lithuanian cheesemaker, Rokiškio, and Royal A-ware, before launching NZMP europro - a whey protein ingredient sourced from its European partners - in November 2013.

Months later it partnered with British processor, Dairy Crest, to produce and market demineralized whey powder and galacto-oligosacchride (GOS).

In April, Fonterra told DairyReporter.com it is "scanning the market"​ for new whey sourcing partnerships in Europe.

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