Fonterra reduces time from NZ farm to Chinese breakfast table from 100+ days to 34, in bid to claim "freshest imported UHT milk in China"

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Consumers across China are getting a taste of the freshest imported UHT milk thanks to a Fonterra programme aimed at delivering UHT to the Co-operative’s biggest market at world-leading speed.

Fonterra’s project to align and enhance its supply chain from New Zealand to mainland China has seen a dramatic reduction in the time it takes to get UHT products to market from more than 100 days to just 34. This makes Fonterra UHT the freshest imported UHT milk in China.

Robert Spurway, Chief Operating Officer Global Operations, says time spent shipping and transporting products can be the difference between good and great tasting dairy nutrition. 

“When it comes to dairy, there is no substitute for freshness and this is something Fonterra takes great pride in. We produce some of the purest dairy in the world, from grass-fed cows living on quality pasture and you can taste that quality in our milk.

“From a supply chain perspective, reducing the window between the farm and the breakfast table is about preserving the natural freshness and purity of our milk – this is one of Fonterra’s competitive advantages globally.”

The 70 per cent reduction in lead-time took the team just under four months from start to finish, with every aspect of the supply chain streamlined from production, sailing time and schedules to customs clearance.

“We’ve put all facets of our supply chain under the microscope to shave off every additional hour,” says Mr Spurway.

“Processes that delayed products from leaving our site have been analysed and refined, resulting not only in our UHT reaching port sooner, but also an improvement in our consistency and quality. Waiting time at port has also been minimised, with all production now aligned with shipping schedules between Tauranga and Shanghai,” he says.

Freeing up the final leg of the journey, Fonterra has worked closely with regulators in China to get a deeper understanding of how it can better meet customs requirements to make sure there is no hold up on arrival.

With UHT becoming increasingly popular in China, Mr Spurway says the improvement in delivery times and freshness has been well received by customers.

“We have had good feedback from our customers that their consumers show a growing preference towards fresher UHT products. We’re able to deliver that freshness through our focus on performance and quality to help give customers of Anchor Food Professionals the edge.”

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