Fonterra makes move in US whey protein market with latest buy

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

The US deal follows an announcement to boost investment in Australia.
The US deal follows an announcement to boost investment in Australia.

Related tags Milk

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra is buying into an American whey protein concentrate and lactose manufacturer for an undisclosed amount in order to secure its US-sourcing network.

The Oregon-based Columbia River Technologies, which was founded as a joint venture between Threemile Canyon Farms and the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), makes whey protein products in Boardman, Oregon.

Since the company's founding in 2013, Fonterra has held the exclusive sales agency for these products.

A 'natural progression'

This latest development entails Fonterra being added to the joint venture with an equal share.

Fonterra's president of NZMP Americas Joe Coote said that this was a 'natural progression' in its long-term relationship with Threemile Canyon Farms and the TCCA.

He added that this would allow it to satisfy rising demand for ingredients like whey protein from countries outside of New Zealand.

"The agreement reflects Fonterra's move to develop a sustainable US-sourcing network, providing a reliable and efficient chain of supply, and complementing New Zealand-sourced ingredients for our sports and infant nutrition customers."

Pro-active on protein

According to TCAA president and CEO Patrick Criteser, the joint venture will complement the TCCA’s plan to ensure responsible usage of its cheese-making by-products, thereby adding value to its farmer-owners.

"We're pleased to further strengthen our existing relationship with Fonterra, an organisation that understands the cooperative mindset and brings significant expertise in the area of whey products."

Threemile Canyon GM Marty Myers said the deal "leverages each company's expertise and resources, and reinforces an already strong alliance for future strategic growth"​.

The deal comes after the New Zealand firm announced its $100m investment into its Australian business earlier this month.

Fonterra Australia said it had reached full milk processing capacity at 2 billion litres a year and would invest an initial $100m immediately to provide a further 500 million litres of capacity.

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