A $30 million yoghurt factory expansion in Dandenong South is set to create 200 jobs and help place even more Victorian dairy products into export markets, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said yesterday.
Mr Walsh had officially opened the upgraded 3,000-square metre state-of-the-art Chobani Australia factory yesterday, saying:
“This is an exciting upgrade that has allowed Chobani Australia to triple production at the Dandenong South site and create 50 manufacturing and management jobs. Over the next three years Chobani Australia expects to create a further 150 jobs as the factory reaches full capacity.
The expansion is said to be good news for Victorian dairy farmers also, who supply Chobani Australia.
The US based Chobani acquired Bead Foods, the maker of Gippsland Dairy products, in 2011 – the company’s first purchase outside the United States.
“Chobani’s additional investment with the upgrade is also good news for the Dandenong South region because it is bringing significant new job opportunities to this area,” Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh revealed the Australian yoghurt and dairy desserts market was worth about one billion dollars annually and was one of the fastest growing domestic dairy product categories.
With products manufactured at South Dandenong’s plant already in Australian supermarkets, Mr Walsh believes the next step for Chobani is to establish the Victorian site as an export hub to Asia.
“There is increasing demand for our dairy products in countries such as Japan, China, Singapore and Indonesia and the Victorian Coalition Government is already helping Victorian-based food manufactures access key export markets where there is growing demand for our products,” Mr Walsh said.
“Our successful trade missions to the Middle East, India and China have already resulted in new deals for Victorian businesses, and planning is underway for a return trade mission to the Middle East early in 2013.
“We are also driving productivity increases with programs like Growing Food and Fibre which is investing an additional $61.4 million into targeted research and development, including $14.3 million in the dairy sector,” Mr Walsh added.