Australian dairy processors are ramping up production in response to increased consumer demand.
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BOOST: Dairy processors are working to meet increased demand for dairy products.

Fonterra, Freedom Foods and infant formula processor Bubs have all reported increased demand, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fonterra Australia farm source director Matt Watt said its cheese, butter and spreads and fresh milk were seeing unprecedented demand from the supermarkets.

“We’re working with them to help get the right products on shelf quickly,” he said.

“We’ve got record volumes of fresh milk being produced at our Cobden (Vic) plant and we’re ramping up our cheese, butter and spreads production.”

Freedom Freedom reported it was experiencing strong demand for key products, including UHT dairy and plant beverages and cereals and snacks.

The company said it was working closely with key retailers and other customers in Australia and export markets to prioritise supply.

A key focus area was supply of UHT dairy milk.

Freedom said it did not see any constraints for supply of key raw materials or packaging inputs.

Specialist infant formula manufacturer Bubs Australia founder and CEO Kristy Carr said the company had increased its capacity to produce its goat milk and organic grass-fed cow’s milk formula, moving to two shifts per day, with the ability to go to three shifts if required.

Bubs was facing increased demand from parents anxious to secure supplies of infant milk formula.

It was also building inventory to ensure a steady future supply to quickly respond to further demand surges.

“Bubs domestic sales in the most recent half year accounted for about 70 per cent of Bubs revenues,” Ms Carr said.

“Over the last few weeks, we have worked with our retail partners including Coles, Woolworths, Big W and Chemist Warehouse to ensure distribution and continued supply of the newly introduced Bubs Organic 365 days grass-fed infant formula range as well as our existing Bubs Australian goat milk infant formula range.”

It said its supply chain for raw materials had not been impacted to date.

Processors are also working to ensure they have strict protocols in place.

Mr Watt said Fonterra’s response to COVID-19 was being managed through its robust incident response processes.

“We have actioned our business continuity plans for our sites, offices and facilities, which set out the key mitigating actions required by us to respond to situations such as COVID-19,” he said.

If a farmer or someone on their farm becomes sick or is suspected of having COVID-19, we will still pick up the milk, however they must advise our service centre so we can follow COVID-19 protocol.
– Matt Watt, Fonterra

“Fonterra’s processing, scheduling, logistics and delivery activities in all markets are largely operating as normal.

“If a farmer or someone on their farm becomes sick or is suspected of having COVID-19, we will still pick up the milk, however they must advise our service centre so we can follow COVID-19 protocol.”

Mr Watts said it had never been more important for farmers, processors and industry to work together for the community.

“We simply must make food and get it to people,” he said.

Freedom Foods said it had instituted upgraded internal protocols, including protection of its key operational processes and employees required to maintain food and beverage processing.

Bubs said it had had implemented arrangements to underpin business continuity.

Chobani, the Greek yogurt marker, plans to become a publicly traded company in 2022. In preparation for an initial public offering (IPO), the company filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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