THREE months after Beston Global Food Company took official ownership of the former United Dairy Power factories at Murray Bridge and Jervois, chairman Roger Sexton has officially cut the ribbon to signify the factory as open for business.
In the first quarter since the company took on ownership of the factory, now named Beston Pure Foods, it has already surpassed its annual targets.
“We had budgeted to process 25 million litres in the first year,” Dr Sexton said.
“In three months we have processed 26mL.”
BPF has also almost doubled its projected annual cheese production and exceeded whey powder production by 160 per cent.
Dr Sexton said the initial figures had been conservative as they were unsure of milk supply.
“We had to assume we could only get our own milk,” he said.
When UDP went into receivership, many dairyfarmers were left without a processor for their milk and subsequently picked up new contracts.
Dr Sexton said many of these had only been short-term contracts, and the company was seeking to bring many of these farmers back to the local plants.
As the company expands production, Dr Sexton said it also required more staff. The April closure left an estimated 100 employees in Murray Bridge and Jervois without jobs.
BPF employs 35 people and Dr Sexton expects this to rise to about 60 in the short term.
This month the company sent its first shipment of 220 tonnes of cheese to Asia, with an order of 120t bound for Europe.
Dr Sexton said the focus for the factory is “small batch production of high end cheese”.
“We don’t want to be just a commodity cheese producer,” he said.
Dr Sexton said the company aimed to return to some of the “hallmark” products at the Murray Bridge factory, beginning the process of aged vintage cheese.
There were also early plans to build a new facility for soft cheeses.
“We want to replace imported cheese from overseas,” he said.
“We don’t get a lot of wines from France and we can replace a lot of cheese imports right here.”
There are new products in development, with powdered condensed milk provided to the ASEAN market, and orders to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
There is also a low sodium cheese in development, with help from a salt replacement product from the BGFC’s health division.