Kraftkar from Norway crowned World Champion Cheese 2016

Kraftkar, made by Norwegian producer Tingvollost, has scooped the coveted title of World Champion Cheese at the 29th annual World Cheese Awards, coming top among a record number of entries that were judged at the Kursaal Congress Centre in San Sebastián, during the first day of the International Cheese Festival.

The winning Kraftkar beat off competition from over 3,000 entries into the world’s largest cheese-only awards scheme this year, with judge Nick Tsioros, owner of Olympic Cheese in Toronto, who championed this cheese, saying, “This 12-month aged blue cheese is wonderfully balanced, it has a great crumbly texture, but is soft and smooth on the tongue. The mould has developed nicely and comes across really well in the overall flavour of the cheese.”

The final International Super Jury, representing nations including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA, concurred, awarding Kraftkar the highest score of the final judging stage.

Gunnar Waagen from Tingvollost explained, “I have no words, this is marvellous news! We are a family-run farm and work long days to make our cheese. We get up early every day and go to bed very late to make the best cheese we can, and so to win this award, I am very proud.”

Kraftkar was awarded 71 points out of a possible 80 by the Super Jury of 16 judges, just ahead of a Spanish duo in joint second place with 67 points; Cala Blanc from Lacto Industrial Menorquina and Cremositos Del Zujar from Arteserena.

Drawing entries from 31 different countries, from Australia to Italy and Mexico to Mozambique, cheese of all shapes and sizes made their way by bicycle, boat, plane, train, truck and car to the Kursaal Congress Centre in San Sebastián, via 12 consolidation points in all corners of the globe. 266 cheese experts from 26 different nations followed them to the Basque Country to taste, nose and grade over 3,000 cheeses in a single day, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.

The 2016 World Champion Cheese will now be entered into a Champion of Champions contest on Thursday 17 November, where it will be judged alongside the 28 previous winners of the World Cheese Awards.

Health Check: is cheese good for you?

It’s no wonder people are confused about whether it’s good to eat cheese, when even food experts are divided. Some argue that we’re not eating enough of this important source of protein and calcium, while others say the high levels of salt and saturated fat mean we should be eating less.

Whatever your position, it’s becoming increasingly hard to avoid cheese. Whether its grilled halloumi with poached eggs for breakfast, pumpkin and feta salad for lunch, or pepperoni pizza for dinner, cheese is a key ingredient in many regular meals. It’s a popular snack food, with many health professionals promoting crackers and cheese as a high-protein snack. A cheese platter is also the favourite way to kick off afternoon drinks or a barbeque.

So just how much cheese are Australians eating, and is it good for us?

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults eat about 2.5 serves of dairy (including milk, yoghurt and cheese) a day. They also say this should preferably be low-fat to ensure that nutrient needs are met without exceeding energy requirements.

Available sales data for cheese suggest that Australians are eating 13.6kg of cheese per person per year, which works out at 37g per person per day, or just less than one Australian portion (Australian portion sizes are 25% bigger than European Union ones, at 40g compared with 30g).


It seems that the advice to limit full-fat cheeses to two or three serves per week is being ignored. Low-fat products only made up 29% of dairy products consumed in the last dietary survey while cheese accounted for 99% of the high-fat dairy products consumed.

Full-fat cheese products contain high levels of saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease. A 40g portion of cheese can contain between 2.24g (reduced-fat ricotta) and 9.5g (Danish creamy cheese Havarti) of saturated fat.

This is 11% and 40%, respectively, of the amount used as the reference guide for daily intake labelling. So even though actual recommendations depend on individual energy requirements, it is still clear that we need to limit our consumption of full-fat cheese to avoid excessive amounts of saturated fat.

Saturated fats are bad for heart health.


The levels of sodium in cheese are also something to watch out for as too much salt increases blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sodium levels in one 40g portion of cheese range from 74mg (4% of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended daily amount) in reduced-fat ricotta, to a scary 1,160mg (58% of the WHO’s recommended daily amount) in halloumi.

Interestingly, processed cheddar contains twice as much sodium as unprocessed cheddar, at 532mg per portion (26% of WHO recommended amount), so it would seem better to opt for the unprocessed version on that basis (although this may have higher levels of saturated fat and less calcium).

Processed cheeses

The definition of a processed cheese is a product manufactured from cheese and products obtained from milk, which is heated and melted, with or without added emulsifying salts, to form a homogeneous mass.

Such products can be produced more cheaply, last longer and are more convenient to use and so are a popular product for kids’ school lunchboxes. Current concerns over increasing childhood obesity in Australia means its important to keep an eye on fat and energy contents of children’s foods.

Kraft singles and Bega Stringers both contain a little less energy, substantially less saturated fat, and about the same amount of sodium and calcium per portion as regular cheddar cheese. Meanwhile, Philadelphia cream cheese contains even less energy and much less sodium but is higher in saturated fat.

Are we getting any nutrition from highly processed cheeses?

Health benefits?

A recent meta-analysis of 15 studies, that suggested moderate cheese consumption (up to 40g per day) was associated with reduced heart disease risk, didn’t differentiate between low and full fat cheeses.

The authors (two of whom incidentally work for a leading dairy company in Asia) suggested the calcium, protein, vitamins or minerals (not specified) in cheese might explain the apparent protective health benefits.

Cheese is a good source of calcium and we need calcium for bones and teeth as well as regulating muscle and heart functions.

The recommendations are for most adults and children aged nine and above to eat 1,000-1,300mg of calcium a day. A 40g serving of cheddar cheese contains around 320mg. So you would need to eat at least three portions if you were to get your calcium requirements just from cheese.

So what’s the verdict?

For maximum health outcomes I’d stick to the advice to eat two to three serves of dairy (mainly low fat) per day. This may include one serve of low-fat cheese, with maybe one serve each of low-fat milk and yoghurt to ensure you get enough calcium. I’d also stick with the recommendations to limit full-fat cheeses to two to three serves per week.

  • Enjoy sparingly (two to three times a week): full-fat cheeses, hard cheeses, feta, halloumi, blue cheese.
  • Eat moderate amounts (one portion a day): low-fat cheeses, cottage cheese, reduced fat ricotta, reduced fat mozarella.

The Conversation

Jacqui Webster, Senior Research Fellow, Food Policy. Director of World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Population Salt Reduction, George Institute for Global Health

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Warrnambool Cheese returns to profit

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company has announced a half year normalised net profit after tax of $12.0 million for 2017, following the loss of the previous corresponding period.

In addition, the company increased revenue to $325.9 million (a rise of 10 per cent).

WCB said in a statement the increase is due to improved returns from its consumer goods business and joint ventures, realigning raw milk cost with market conditions and a lower average Australian dollar.

Normalised NPAT for HY17 is calculated after removing the one-off net profit after tax of $8.8 million achieved on the sale of the Company’s interest in food testing business Dairy Technical Services Limited.

The company cautioned that the volatility of the Australian dollar as well as global milk price variations means will continue to affect future results.


Sweet cheese cubes add new flavour to growing Asian market

AUSTRALIAN cheese products flavoured with chocolate, fruits and nuts are aiming to win new customers in Asia.

Beston Pure Foods began producing its Edwards Crossing range of natural cheeses in Murray Bridge, South Australia, in September 2015. It sent its first shipment of cheddar and gouda to Thailand and Singapore in December where it is reprocessed and flavoured under the Kyubu brand.

Flavours include Chocolate & Almond, Strawberry, Orange Yoghurt, Nacho and Milky Cheddar.

The Japanese-style cheese snack cubes hit the shelves through a retail supermarket chain in Thailand in July and in Singapore last month.

Beston Pure Foods General Manager Daniel Raschella said the flavoured cheeses were designed to be a first introduction to cheese for people before encouraging them to try the more traditional cheese products.

img - KyubuTal2

He said Kyubu was developed specifically for the growing Asian market, particularly Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“It’s a bridge for a period to allow people to get a feel for some of the cheeses we can make but also we want to use it as a platform to give people the experience of eating the natural cheeses we make as well,” Raschella said.

“We’re also very keen at the moment to move it into China and we’ve got a person on the ground in Vietnam who’s getting a lot of interest. We’re also talking to distributors in Cambodia and Malaysia.”

Australia sent 17,000 tonnes of cheese to China worth US$81 million in 2014 and is the second largest exporter of cheese to China, behind New Zealand.

Japan is Australia’s most important overseas cheese market, accounting for almost 55 per cent of product exports in 2014-15, followed by China, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore.

“The Japanese are much more mature in their palate for cheese,” Raschella said.

“Kyubu is more aimed at the ASEAN countries and potentially China.”

“What’s also happening is a lot of the ASEAN countries and China have a lot of expats who have lived in Australia, the US or Europe for many years, have had children abroad and are now coming back with children who have been brought up with western foods and are still looking for these sorts of products.”

img - Edwards CrossingShallow

Asia eats less than 10 per cent of the world’s cheese but its appetite is growing fast.

Cheese consumption in Asia rose from about 550,000 tonnes in 2000 to just over a million tonnes in 2012. It is expected to reach 1.65 million tonnes by 2020.

Raschella said the Asian cheese market was very commodity driven at the moment, meaning that a lot of cheese was going into processed products such as slices or cubes.

“What we’re trying to do is slowly move people away from full processed cheeses and back to natural to get more flavour,” he said.

“The market is so big – we’re not out to take the whole world, we’re out to find the pockets and the people who are interested in quality products.”

Jarlsberg launches cheese mini’s

Jarlsberg cheese is now available in a new mini format.

Currently available at Woolworths, Coles and leading independent supermarkets in packs of five minis, each 20g Jarlsberg Mini is a perfectly round, individually wrapped miniature cheese wheel.

Bite-sized and consistent with the brand’s sweet nutty taste Australian’s have come to love, the products are ideal for breakfast on the go, school lunches, work lunches and snacking occasions.

Naturally low in lactose, the cheese portions suit the needs of today’s busy families with hectic schedules who snack more frequently but want healthier, all natural and fresh ready to eat options.

Fonterra invests $4.3m in Tasmanian plant

Dairy processor Fonterra will increase its cheese and whey capacity at its Wynyard plant with a $4.3m investment.

The company said in a statement that the investment will increase the plant’s cheese making capacity by 8,000 MT per annum – equivalent to 30 Olympic size pools of processed milk per annum – by quickening every step of the cheese making process.

However, as the Weekly Times reports, the investment will not result in any new jobs or a need for increased milk supplies.

Fonterra Australia Regional Operations Manager South Steve Taylor says that the Wynyard factory is a key part of Fonterra’s global multi-hub strategy.

“The more we invest for growth the more competitive our business will be, putting us in a strong position to manage global volatility, pay the best possible price to farmers and the best possible returns to our shareholders,” he said.

The Wynyard plant has been running at full capacity since a fire destroyed the company’s Victorian cheese plant at Stanhope in December 2014.

The Wynyard expansion will see Fonterra’s total Australian cheese production increase by 50 per cent once the Stanhope plant is commissioned in mid-2017.


Beemster Dutch gouda cheese

Beemster, a premium gouda cheese renowned for its rich and creamy taste has been launched in Australia.

Made in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, ‘The Beemster’ in North Holland, its delicious taste is the direct result of ideal farming conditions and practices.

Made from local farming cooperatives since 1901, the Beemster family now consists of 175 employees and 460 farmers. The cheese aims to be the most environmentally-friendly cheese maker in the world and is dedicated to sustainability and free-range farming.

The cheese is aged in historic warehouses for between one month for a mild taste and up to 26 months for a more robust taste. The range includes Mild, Medium, Aged, Classic, X-O- and Royaal, each aged for a distinctive flavour, suited to accompany different beverages and foods.

The Beemster region has unique mineral-rich soil, which results in smooth and sweet milk and the creamiest Gouda cheese in Holland. The Beemster is considered the first and most famous polder in Holland, a low-lying land area surrounded by dykes and windmills, which creates pastures ideal for cattle to feed on.

The Beemster Polder is largely unchanged since 1901 and was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, formally recognising and protecting the region. The small herds of cattle graze freely and have free-range access to the pastures.

The company has been recognised as Holland’s most distinguished cheesemaker by being made a supplier to the Royal Court of the Netherlands, the highest honour for a cheese company in Holland. In 2001 The company was given the right to use “Royal Warrant”, an honour reserved for exceptional Dutch businesses that are over a century old.

The cheese is imported in Australia through Angeles Fine Foods, an independent importer, wholesaler and distributor of premium gourmet food products.


 World Cheese Awards 2016 opens for entry

The 29th annual World Cheese Awards will open for entry from Wednesday 17 August, with organisers, the Guild of Fine Food, expecting more cheese-makers than ever to enter as the competition heads to San Sebastián this year, during the city’s tenure as European Capital of Culture.

Dedicated only to cheese, with no other dairy products able to enter, the World Cheese Awards, supported by Artzai Gazta and the Basque Country Government, will be the showpiece event at the inaugural International Cheese Festival. Being held between 16-18 November 2016, this global celebration of cheese will be open to consumers and tourists, as well as food professionals, buyers, and retailers.

Cheeses from over 30 different countries are expected to line up in front of 250 judges from every corner of the globe, including international buyers, retailers, writers and cheesemakers, providing a golden opportunity for small artisan producers to spotlight their cheese on a world stage. With all tasting, nosing and conferring taking place within a single day, thousands of entries will be judged in order to identify any cheeses worthy of a Bronze, Silver or Gold award, before the World Champion Cheese is crowned later in the afternoon.

The World Cheese Awards judging will commence on Wednesday 16 November. All entries will be judged and whittled down to the top 60 in just one day. Then the best 16 cheeses will be voted for by a final judging panel later in the afternoon, when the 2016 World Champion Cheese will be crowned.

With the World Cheese Awards at its heart, the International Cheese Festival will be held at the Kursaal Congress Centre on San Sebastián’s spectacular beachfront. In partnership with the Guild of Fine Food, Artzai Gazta will stage this truly global cheese event, open to food professionals, buyers, retailers, consumers and tourists.

Major figures in the cheese world will come together to discuss dairy industry issues in a conference environment, whilst consumers will have the opportunity to learn about cheeses from all over the globe through talks surrounding the World Cheese Awards, in the process raising awareness of local artisan cheese production and helping to promote the region’s culture, gastronomy and tourism.


Beston Global Food Company tops cheese awards

Within a year of re-establishing cheese making at Murray Bridge, Beston Global Food Company (BFC) has topped its class at the South Australian Dairy Industry Awards.

All the Beston Pure Foods Edwards Crossing-branded cheeses that were nominated in the prestigious Royal Adelaide Show Dairy Awards held on August 4 won medals in their categories, with BFC landing a total of two Gold and three Silver as well as the overall title of Champion Cheddar.

“To come away from these highly competitive industry awards with such a medal haul in our first attempt is a fantastic achievement,” BFC Chairman Dr Roger Sexton said.

“Since we acquired, re-built operations and re-opened the factory at Murray Bridge we have wasted no time in producing the highest quality cheese.

“We are immensely proud of the work done by our team at BFC in taking the former business of United Dairy Power (UDP) out of receivership, fixing it up and turning it into a multi award winning dairy factory in less than 12 months.

“These awards are a testament to the skill of our master team of cheese makers who are remaining true to the traditional methods and using only the best natural ingredients.”

The Beston Pure Foods cheeses recognised at the SA Dairy Industry Awards were:

  •  Beston Pure Foods Cloth Bound Cheddar – Gold Medal & Champion Cheddar Cheese of the Show.
  •  Beston Pure Foods Edwards Crossing Mild and Creamy Colby – Gold Medal
  •  Beston Pure Foods Edwards Crossing Rich and Smooth Gouda – Silver Medal
  •  Beston Pure Foods Edwards Crossing Rich and Full Flavoured Cheddar – Silver Medal
  •  Beston Pure Foods Pepato – Silver Medal.

Minister for Agriculture Leon Bignell congratulated the Beston Pure Foods team on its fantastic achievement.

“In June the State Government announced it was providing $2.5 million to Beston for the development of its state-of-the-art cheese processing facility. The facility will create 60 ongoing jobs and 24 during construction,” Mr Bignell said.

“Beston is a brilliant South Australian company and this recognition at the SA Dairy Industry Awards is very fitting – particularly as Beston recently created a Tribute cheese to help the dairy farming community.”

The award-winning Beston Pure Foods cheeses sold under the Edwards Crossing brand will be available at independent stores in Adelaide from around mid-August. The Pepato and the Cloth Bound Cheddar will be available in stores later in the year.

Kerrygold dairy products

Continuing the traditional farming practices of their ancestors, with more than 6,000 years of provenance, Ireland’s dairy farmers collect milk to craft the dairy brand, Kerrygold.

Roaming freely across a hectare to call their own, up to 300 days a year, amongst the greenest grass graze the dairy cows. The result is butter and cheese, packed with naturally occurring antioxidant beta-carotene to give these products their characteristic golden colour and creamy taste.

Established in 1962, Kerrygold today is a co-operative representing 15,000 family owned farms, most of which have been handed down through the generations. Across Ireland, these small scale dairy farms are working together to share their premium, sustainably farmed and manufactured dairy products with discerning epicureans of the world.

“Our rich, creamy milk from grass-fed cows creates the most naturally produced and exceptionally tasty dairy products unique to Ireland. With a freshness and quality ensured by the care and dedication of our farmers, Kerrygold is a humble embodiment of Ireland’s most beloved craft” said Kate Saul, Marketing Manager, Kerrygold.

“The opportunity to share our Irish butter and cheese in Australia is such an honour. We hope our love of taste and tradition can be enjoyed by families and food lovers across Australia.”

The range includes:

  • Pure Irish Butter, Slightly Salted 250g
  • Pure Irish Butter, Unsalted 250g
  • Cheddar Vintage 200g
  • Cheddar Extra Mature 200g
  • Cheddar Dubliner 200 g

New Coon cheese campaign focuses on the brand’s heritage

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter’s new integrated advertising campaign for Coon cheese celebrates the heritage of the brand and its everyday use by Australians.

The campaign runs across TV, print and digital media. The TV commercial aired for the first time last night (Sunday June 12) and portrays a mother and daughter passing on the tradition of Coon cheese toasties over several decades under the tagline “Comfort never grows old”.

The campaign, developed by advertising agency Havas Melbourne, is the first in nearly three years for Coon cheese after the brand was purchased from Lion Dairy and Drinks by WCB in 2015. WCB GM Marketing Ted Lawson said the TVC is a celebration of Coon’s heritage.

“For the past 81 years Coon cheese has been enjoyed by Australian families and is a staple of everyday life. “We hope the TVC reminds Australians of their childhood, growing up with Coon cheese and the pleasure and comfort of enjoying a cheese toastie with family. This is a tradition that we want to continue,” he said.

The TVC will appear across primetime media such as Masterchef Australia and The Voice and within specific STV, online and print media environments.

DSM launches new cultures for milder tasting white cheese

DSM introduced a new range of white cheese cultures at the DSM Dairy Seminar held on 2 June 2016 in Istanbul (Turkey) to address consumer demand for a milder and fresher flavour.

These cultures come as part of DSM’s total solution, along with enzymes and technical support, that improve not just the taste, but also the affordability and shelf-life of white cheese.

White cheese is commonly produced in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East and consists of white brine curd cheeses of which Feta is the most globally appealing. These cheeses have seen a rise in popularity as they fit well with trends for a healthier diet and lifestyle; they are high in protein, can be used in small portions as a table cheese and combined with healthy foods, such as salads. They can also be consumed as small cubes or can be crumbled, making them an attractive and versatile convenience food.

DSM’s total solution enables white cheese producers to extend shelf-life and reduce bitterness, whilst providing a good texture profile and the possibility to differentiate on flavor. It also enables a fast fermentation and accelerates ripening to increase production efficiency.

A process scan to optimize production is provided, as well as a pro-active approach for controlling phage during culture performance in cheese production. Consisting of coagulants, cultures, lipases and technical support, the new range helps white cheese producers to create the next successful white cheese product.

Warrnambool Cheese & Butter picks up multiple dairy awards

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter’s Warrnambool Heritage and Mil Lel brands have won five gold medals in the Australian Dairy Product Awards 2016, the nation’s only technical awards in this category.

Decided after a rigorous judging process of over 1,200 dairy products by 40 technical experts, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter received the following accolades:

·        Highest Scoring Cheddar Cheese – Warrnambool Heritage Matured
·        Highest Aggregate Score for Cheddar Cheese – Warrnambool Heritage
·        Highest Scoring Consumer Pack Cheddar Cheese – Warrnambool Heritage Vintage
·        Highest Scoring Very Hard Cheese – Mil Lel Superior Parmesan
·        Highest Scoring Italian Style Cheese – Mil Lel Superior Parmesan

The above award-winners will now be invited to enter the esteemed Australian Grand Dairy Awards, run by Dairy Australia, to be announced in 2017.

“What is evident from these accolades is that Australians still love our locally-made cheeses, and it wouldn’t be possible to create such quality products without the support of our local dairy farmers,” said WCBF General Manager of Marketing, Ted Lawson.

“It just goes to show how important it is for us to continue to support these local farmers’ livelihoods and work together to produce award winning, quality dairy products.”

Adding to the quintet of national awards, WCBF also took home an impressive nine accolades in the Victorian awards:

·        Overall Cheese Champion: Mil Lel Superior Parmesan
·        Highest Scoring Cheddar Cheese – Semi Matured: Warrnambool Heritage Semi-Matured
·        Highest Scoring Cheddar Cheese – Matured: Warrnambool Heritage Matured
·        Highest Scoring Cheddar Cheese – Vintage: Warrnambool Heritage Vintage
·        Highest Aggregate Scoring Cheddar: Warrnambool Heritage
·        Highest Scoring Cheddar Cheese: Warrnambool Heritage Matured
·        Highest Scoring Consumer Pack Cheddar Cheese: Warrnambool Heritage Vintage
·        Highest Scoring Very Hard Cheese: Mil Lel Superior Parmesan
·        Most Outstanding Show Exhibit : Mil Lel Superior Parmesan

As well as being the sole technical dairy awards in Australia, the DIAA National Dairy Product Awards are also the nation’s oldest, now in its 121st year.

New locally made milk brand for SA

A new South Australian milk brand released over the weekend is sourced only from two local dairy farms and available only through locally owned retailers and food service outlets.

Adelaide Now reports that South Australians can purchase the ‘Adelaide Hills Dairies’ brand through Foodland and IGA stores as well as some independent shops, and cafes and restaurants. The products will be made at at B.-d Farm Paris Creek’s processing facility in the Adelaide Hills

According to Ulli Spranz, managing director of both Adelaide Hills Dairies and B.-d. Farm Paris Creek, there are plans to also begin selling yoghurts and cottage-cheeses carrying the Adelaide Hills Dairies brand later this year.

“Consumers can be absolutely assured that by supporting this brand… they will also be supporting an important part of the South Australian economy, while enjoying premium local dairy products,” Spranz told Adelaide Now.

In February the South Australian Government granted B.-d. Farm Paris Creek a $900,000 Regional Development Fund grant to support the company’s $6.5 million into its Meadows-based operation.

The project will place the company among only a handful of producers in Australia capable of ESL fresh milk production.

Morrison ticks off sale of Australia’s biggest dairy to Chinese buyer

Treasurer Scott Morrison has approved the $280 million sale of Australia’s largest dairy farming business to the Chinese-owned Moon Lake Investments.

Morrison announced he had agreed to the acquisition of the land and assets of the Tasmanian Land Company (TLC), including the Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL) from New Zealand’s New Plymouth District Council (NPDC), subject to conditions on taxation.

He said his decision was consistent with the recommendation of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Moon Lake is owned by Lu Xianfeng. Lu is the managing director and executive chairman of Kresta Holdings Limited, Australia’s largest window-covering retailer.

VDL, which dates from 1825, owns and operates 25 dairy farms in Tasmania, milking some 18,000 cows. The Treasurer pointed out that “VDL is currently a foreign-owned company that has always been owned by foreign residents”.

Morrison said he had considered the national interest test, including the likely impact on local jobs and increased investment to support economic growth. “In particular, the national interest test requires consideration of the impact on taxation revenue,” he said.

Approval of Moon Lake’s application is the first under new conditions, requiring it to comply with Australian tax law, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) directions to provide information about the investment and to advise the ATO if it enters into any transactions with non-residents to which the transfer pricing or any anti-avoidance measures in the tax law might potentially apply.

Morrison said Moon Lake had guaranteed all VDL employees would be offered jobs on terms no less favourable than their present ones.

It had also committed to investment projects on the VDL farms “which will provide additional economic activity to the Tasmanian economy, and based upon Moon Lake’s estimates will result in a near doubling of employment at VDL”, Morrison said. “This will guarantee more than 140 local jobs, generate an intended additional investment of over $100 million and an expected additional 95 jobs.”

Moon Lake planned to continue to supply the milk under the present contractual terms. This meant the supply of milk and milk products would not be affected – indeed supply might increase with more investment, Morrison said.

He said the VDL land had important cultural and natural heritage significance.

“Moon Lake has committed to honour the terms of all environmental and cultural agreements entered into by VDL, including with the local Aboriginal community. This also includes the ‘in principle’ approval for the construction of a Devil Proof Fence at its Woolnorth property to help reduce the spread of Devil Facial Tumour Disease among the Tasmanian Devil population,” Morrison said.

Businessman Dick Smith condemned the approval as a “disaster”. “You may as well not have borders if you are going to sell everything off,” Smith said.

The decision follows controversy about the purchase and comes before Morrison must decide on whether to approve the sale of the pared-down Kidman empire to a Chinese buyer. Earlier he rejected the Kidman sale particularly on the security grounds that Anna Creek Station, the biggest working cattle station in the world, overlapped the Woomera Prohibited Area. Anna Creek has been removed from the restructured bid.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

BFC forms alliance with cheese distributor WRG

Beston Global Food Company (BFC) has formed a strategic alliance with leading Australian Cheese distributor, the Washed Rind Group (WRG).

The deal means WRG will distribute cheddar and other cheeses currently produced at Beston Pure Foods factory at Murray Bridge, South Australia; and purchase and age certain cheeses manufactured to the specifications of WRG for distribution through WRG outlets around Australia

WRG was established over 20 years ago and trades under a number of brand names including “Say Cheese Wholesale” and “Cheese Culture” which markets and distributes a wide range of cheese products to retail outlets and food service customers across Australia.

The Chairman of BFC, Dr Roger Sexton said that the strategic alliance represented an important step closer to the realisation of the plans announced by BFC in December to build a dedicated white mould (soft cheese) factory at Murray Bridge, adjacent to its existing hard cheese factory.

WRG will provide a broad range of speciality cheese advice to BFC with a view to producing a superior range of high value soft cheeses to replace a proportion of cheeses currently imported from Europe and all parts of the international cheese world.

The Managing Director of WRG, Mr Peter Heaney said that the highly productive BFC dairy farms and other farms in Southern Australia are capable of producing the quality of milk required to produce import replacing white mould cheeses of a very high standard equal to or even better than many of the imported versions currently brought in from overseas.

Mr Heaney said that a lot of cheeses sold by his company are air freighted direct from overseas producers which adds cost to the products and detracts from their shelf life.

“We are keen to support Australia’s burgeoning specialty cheese industry, and we see our strategic alliance with BFC as an extremely important way of delivering on this objective,” Heaney said.

Dr Sexton said that the alliance with WRG also reflected the determination of BFC to shift the focus of its cheese making facilities at the Beston Pure Foods factories at Murray Bridge and Jervois away from commodity cheese making to specialist high end, value adding cheese making.

As an example, he noted that he had recently returned from Bangkok where BFC has launched a new cheese product designed and developed by BFC called “Kyubu” specifically for the ASEAN market in conjunction with a leading Japanese food technology company.

“Kyubu” is a Japanese style flavoured cheese snack sold in 80g pouch packs, both for Adults (eg as nibbles with a beer or other drinks) and for Children (eg as a school or after school healthy snack).

“Taste testing had been used in major Bangkok supermarkets to fine tune the natural flavour profiles of the Kyubu cheese products prior to release and all the cheese used in the products is being manufactured at our Murray Bridge factory”, he said.

Dr Sexton said that a number of other new BFC initiatives currently in train will be announced by the company in conjunction with the release of BFC‘s Half Year Results on Monday 29 February, 2016.

Fonterra extends the life of milk

Launched this week, Anchor Milk has arrived in Australia and brought with it a new microfiltration technology, which will initially be available in Victoria.

While all milk is pasteurised Anchor goes one step further by using microfiltration to reduce the naturally occurring bacteria in pasteurised milk that causes spoilage by an additional 95 per cent. 

It does this by pushing the milk through a special ceramic filter, creating a beautifully fresh tasting finished product that has an extended shelf life of 21 days.  Normal pasteurised milk has a shelf life of 15 days.  

No additives or preservative are added to Anchor milk to achieve this longer shelf life.  In fact, it’s all about what’s removed to create the very finest filtered product. 

While Anchor offers a similar nutritional profile to other supermarket milks, the big difference is in its taste.

“Anchor is clean on the palette and has distinctly no after-taste – even after a week or two in the fridge,” said Kiril Simonovski, Director of Marketing at Fonterra.  “It really is beautiful milk and we think it offers consumers the best of both worlds through its superior taste profile, combined with the convenience of an extended shelf life.

“We know consumers shop by used-by-date because they want the freshest product.  We think Anchor will appeal to discerning households looking for a premium product with a recommended retail price of only slightly more than regular milk,” Simonovski added.

CSIRO Food Manufacturing Leader, Darren Gardiner, said microfiltration had been received well in other parts of the world.

“While we’re all familiar with the concept of filtration when it comes to water and coffee, the additional step of filtering out the unwanted bacteria in milk before pasteurisation is a major development in fresh milk,” Gardiner said.  

Anchor Milk is sourced exclusively from a small number of farms in Western Victoria, located close to where the milk is processed.  These farmers deliver high quality milk all year round. 

Murray Goulburn wins Coles cheese supply contract

Murray Goulburn has entered into a five-year national private label contract to supply Coles brand Australian cheese as part of MG’s ongoing push to secure critical mass in the Australian dairy foods market which will underpin and support the company’s growth plans.

The announcement follows a ten-year partnership that MG commenced with Coles in 2014 to supply daily pasteurised milk for Coles private label brands in Victoria and NSW.

The contract includes the supply of a range of Coles brand cheddar-style cheese including tasty, colby, mild and light cheese in blocks, shreds and slices for Coles supermarkets across Australia.

Approximately $130 million will be generated in additional sales per annum and will also deliver a stable stream of profits to MG over the life of the contract.

According to MG Managing Director, Gary Helou, the company aims to build a world-class cut and wrap consumer cheese processing facility at its Cobram cheese plant.

“We are delighted to extend our existing relationship with Coles and its customers to deliver the quality, taste, and freshness of cheese made by Australia’s largest dairy farmer co-operative, which is 100 percent controlled by Australian farmers,” Helou said.

“This additional Coles business complements our investment strategy to build a state-of-the-art supply chain and adds to our critical mass here in Australia, as we look to substantially grow our business internationally.”

As part of its capital investment program, MG has announced plans to invest up to $145 million to significantly increase ‘ready-to-serve’ cheese capacity and capabilities at its new consumer cheese plant in Cobram.

“Cobram will deliver world-leading technology for processing and packaging a range of consumer and food service cheese products including block, slices, snacking and shred,” Helou said.

Fonterra drops farmgate price again as global milk glut worsens

Fonterra Co-operative Group has once again reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2015/16 season from $NZD4.60 per kgMS down to $NZD4.15 per kgMS.

When combined with the earnings per share range of 45-55 cents, this means a total available for payout of $NZD4.60-$NZD4.70 per kgMS and would currently equate to a forecast Cash Payout of $NZD4.50-$NZD4.55 per kgMS to New Zealand dairy farmers after retentions.

CEO Theo Spierings said that although global demand remained sluggish, Fonterra supported the general view that dairy prices will improve later this calendar year. 

“The time frame for supply and demand rebalancing has moved further out and largely depends on a downward correction in EU supply in response to the lower global prices. These prices are clearly unsustainably low for farmers globally and cannot continue in the longer term.”

And despite the perceived increased demand from regions such as Asia, according to Kelvin Wickham, Fonterra’s Managing Director of Global Ingredients, the reality is somewhat more complex with the global demand for dairy continuing to lag. 

“The main factors affecting demand are declining international oil prices, economic uncertainty in a number of emerging economies and a slow recovery of dairy imports into China.”

“On the supply side, in Europe, milk volumes have continued to increase significantly and these surplus volumes are being exported. In addition, the Russian ban on European Union dairy imports has pushed more product onto the world market,” said Wickham.

“Declining international oil prices have weakened the spending power of countries reliant on oil revenues, many which are major dairy importers, contributing to the weaker demand for dairy being seen globally.”

“It is an imbalance between supply and demand that continues to put pressure on global milk prices,” added Wickham,

“Fonterra supports the general view that dairy prices will improve later this calendar year – but this largely depends on a downward correction in EU supply in response to lower global prices,” he said.

Asked about the pain that low farmgate prices give to the farmers, Wickham noted that there was no question this reduction will be tough on New Zealand’s farmers. 

“Fonterra will look at options to assist farmers with on-farm cash flows, underpinned by the expected improvement in dividend returns and the financial strength of the Co-operative.”

However, for the medium to long term outlooks, the global dairy giant remains optimistic, at least publically, with CEO Spierings pointing out, “while a unique series of global issues are impacting the forecast Milk Price, the business is performing well, as outlined in our business update in November, and is on track to generate improved dividend returns.”

“Fonterra has remained focused on reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and shifting more milk into higher value products,” 

“It is important to state that despite the current challenges, we have confidence long term international dairy demand will continue its expansion due to a growing world population, increasing middle classes in Asia, urbanisation and favourable demographics,” concluded Spierings.

Fonterra hits record exports but milk volumes still down

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has announced it has exported record volumes for the month of December 2015.

Export data for the Co-operative in December confirms the new record for a single month’s volume, with more than 300,000 metric tonnes shipped globally.

December’s volume was approximately 10 per cent higher than Fonterra’s previous record month in December 2014.

Fonterra Managing Director for Global Ingredients, Kelvin Wickham said the new record reflected the ongoing successful performance of Fonterra’s direct-to-customer ingredients, consumer and foodservice sales despite the tough global market environment.

“This is an excellent achievement by our sales and logistics teams and it is gratifying to finish 2015 on a high with this record export volume.”

“We have seen unprecedented global volatility due to geopolitical events over the past year. The dairy market has been a tough environment globally, so we are pleased to achieve record export volumes despite the challenges.”

Wickham said the new benchmark would be difficult to surpass as reduced milk volumes began to impact on the Co-operative’s production levels.

Fonterra is forecasting a year-on-year reduction of milk volumes by at least 6 per cent this season as farmers responded to the low milk price environment and dry conditions impacted parts of New Zealand.

Since August 2015, Fonterra has reduced the amount of whole milk powder it expects to offer on the GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) platform over the next 12 months by 146,000 metric tonnes in response to a change in product mix away from base milk powders and continued successful contracting and demand through other sales channels.

“An increased portion of product is being sold through bilateral customer agreements for a premium on prices achieved on GDT. Ingredients inventory levels for the first quarter were in line with the same period last year,” said Wickham.