Thursday, 19 October 2023 09:55

Co-op's Aussie-crafted mozzarella tops 170m pizzas annually

Written by  Staff Reporters
Fonterra says Stanhope plant’s mozzarella is a clear favourite in Australia and is loved in Asian markets. Fonterra says Stanhope plant’s mozzarella is a clear favourite in Australia and is loved in Asian markets.

Consumers and restaurants around Australia and the world are serving up around 25,000 metric tonnes of Fonterra's Perfect Italiano Mozzarella each year.

Made in Stanhope, northern Victoria, that's enough to make 170 million pizzas each year, covering more than 50,000 kilometres, or the equivalent of travelling between Stanhope and Italy's capital, Rome, three times.

Fonterra Australia regional operations manager Steve Taylor says Stanhope's mozzarella is a clear favourite in Australia and is loved in Asian markets.

"Perfect Italiano is found in almost one in two households across the nation, making it the number one culinary cheese brand in Australia."

"It's also the market leading mozzarella brand in food-service in Australia, and on top of that, we export around 8,000 metric tonnes to markets including Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong every year.

"When you're talking 170 million pizzas, it's clear our cheese has captured the taste buds of Australians and international markets alike - all from Fonterra's manufacturing site in Stanhope," says Taylor.

To recognise International Cheese Pizza Day on Tuesday 5 September, Fonterra's expert cheesemakers shared the process behind Australia's favourite mozzarella.

Fonterra Quality Assurance Technician James Harris has been testing cheese at Stanhope for more than 50 years. He said he was part of a team responsible for testing tonnes of cheese every day to ensure only the highest quality makes it into the mouths of Australians.

"Behind every block of cheese that is made at Fonterra's Stanhope site, there is a dedicated team of cheese graders who test the cheese on a range of attributes from taste, aroma, flavour, and texture," says Harris.

"Everyone knows mozzarella for its distinctive stretch, so it's equally important that we get the experience of eating mozzarella to the same standard a its taste.

"Like a wine judge, they do not swallow the product - they just run it over their tastebuds and do physical checks and assess the cheese for a range of parameters they are trained to detect, before spitting it out."

As the most popular cheese used on pizza, Fonterra Quality Manager Shayna Street says mozzarella is known for its stretch as much as its taste.

"The Stanhope site is fitted with a test kitchen and commercial pizza ovens to make sure only the best cheese leaves the factory. When we test mozzarella, we go through a further process of checking its 'meltability', blistering and stretch.

"Everyone knows mozzarella for its distinctive stretch, so it's equally important that we get the experience of eating mozzarella to the same standard as its taste."

Fonterra's Stanhope operations have been producing quality dairy foods for more than 100 years, collecting milk from around 110 northern Victorian farmers.

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