NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd has kicked off the year with robust performance, attributing its success to the introduction of innovative products tailored to various markets.

Notably, the introduction of a cake containing probiotics in response to growing consumer interest in health benefits has proven successful, especially in the Chinese market.

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell highlighted the strategic partnership with a customer in Greater China to develop a probiotic-infused cake, aligning with rising consumer interest in the health benefits of probiotics.

“This move has contributed to a strong first quarter for Fonterra, with improved performance across its sales channels, including Ingredients, Foodservice, and Consumer.”

The probiotic dairy products are designed to offer health benefits beyond traditional digestive and immune support. Fonterra’s research program in Palmerston North focuses on developing unique probiotic strains that enhance the immune system.

The Microbial Fermentation Unit (MFU) at the FRDC holds a vast collection of dairy-associated bacterial strains, allowing the company to explore new probiotic ingredients with a range of health benefits, including inflammation control, immunity support, gut comfort, weight management, brain health, and skincare.

Fonterra’s foodservice operations in Greater China have experienced increased consumer demand for dairy products, contributing to higher margins across the Co-op’s sales channels.

The company’s foodservice development arm, Anchor Food Professionals (AFP), has played a key role in product innovation for bakeries, cafés, prepackaged foods, and quick-service restaurants globally.

Justin Dai, Foodservice VP for Greater China, highlighted the role of AFP in incorporating additional benefits into foodservice products.

The company’s focus on innovation includes exploring the addition of higher protein content to biscuits and waffles for foodservice customers.

Dai emphasized that traditionally, foodservice products needed to be delicious, but now they can also be nutritious, addressing changing consumer preferences.

Fonterra’s strategic partnerships, including the collaboration with Walmart China to launch new bakery products, demonstrate its commitment to innovation and market responsiveness.

Looking ahead, Fonterra aims to build on the positive momentum and work towards its 2030 goals, continuously exploring new ways to commercialize its innovation expertise.