Fonterra, the New Zealand dairy cooperative, has opened its $2.4 m state of the art facility for North American research & development in Rosemont, near Chicago's O'Hare airport.
The Chicago Technical Center's 15 employee staff will work with Fonterra's North American customers which include the five largest food companies to smaller, regional firms. Staff will also work with universities and outside laboratories on customer projects.
Fonterra North America's corporate office was moved to Chicago earlier this year.
The CTC applies New Zealand intellectual property and technology to benefit both the New Zealand and US dairy industries. The center will allow Fonterra's technical staff and its customers to communicate on the processes and taste of products such as cheeses, yoghurt, paediatric formulas, beverages and energy bars.
Recent Fonterra launches in the North American market have been the PowerProtein (TM) range for improved bar functionality and flavour; clear clean flavoured whey-based beverage ingredients; speciality milk protein concentrates for both the cheese and yoghurt industries to improve yields and textures; and a number of hydrolysates for the paediatric nutrition area.
Close proximity of the North American corporate office and R&D facilities should improve coordination with Fonterra's other research and development hubs in Palmerston North, Melbourne, Australia, and Hamburg, Germany.
Hopefully part of the R&D will be directed at improving quality control & testing to better and more quickly detect quality problems such as the melamine tainting in Chinese-sourced milk in recent months.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, Fonterra!