Fonterra acquires stake in US whey protein business Columbia River Technologies

Food acquisition news : New Zealand-based dairy company Fonterra Co-operative Group has acquired a stake in US-based whey protein concentrate and lactose manufacturer Columbia River Technologies.

The financial terms of the Fonterra acquisition of Columbia River Technologies has not been disclosed.

With the transaction, the dairy giant joins Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), an American dairy co-operative and Threemile Canyon Farms, a dairy company in Boardman, Oregon as equal owner in their 2013-founded joint venture Columbia River Technologies.

Fonterra by becoming a partner in the whey protein business will look to meet the surging demand for whey protein and other similar ingredients from places outside New Zealand.

Fonterra dairy processing plant

One of the Fonterra dairy processing plants. Photo courtesy of Mattinbgn/

The New Zealand dairy producer has been associated with Columbia River’s whey protein products as their exclusive sales agency since 2013. The whey protein products are produced in Boardman in a facility close to the satellite cheese manufacturing factory of Tillamook County Creamery Association.

Fonterra Regional Director Ingredients America Joe Coote says that by taking an equal ownership stake in the whey protein business is a natural transition of the dairy company’s long-term relationship with Threemile Canyon Farms and Tillamook County Creamery Association.

Commenting further on the Fonterra acquisition of the whey protein business stake, Joe Coote said: “The agreement reflects Fonterra’s move to develop a sustainable US-sourcing network, providing a reliable and efficient chain of supply, and complementing New Zealand-sourced ingredients for our sports and infant nutrition customers.”

The whey protein business Columbia River Technologies joint venture was established following long-term milk supply deals between Tillamook County Creamery Association and Threemile.

It was founded to increase efficiencies at the Boardman cheese making factory of Tillamook County Creamery Association and also to enhance value from the natural whey and lactose by-products of the cheese making process.

Tillamook County Creamery Association president and CEO Patrick Criteser says that the joint venture fits with the strategy of the cooperative to responsible utilize the by-products of its primary cheese making business and also in continuing to deliver value for its farmer-owners.

Welcoming the Fonterra acquisition of the whey protein business stake, Patrick Criteser said: “We’re pleased to further strengthen our existing relationship with Fonterra, an organization that understands the cooperative mindset and brings significant expertise in the area of whey products.”

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