Who knew Te Rapa makes Sri Lanka’s favourite drink

Te Rapa site operations manager Scott Nelson, left, and plant manager Matt Walton.
MARK TAYLOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Te Rapa site operations manager Scott Nelson, left, and plant manager Matt Walton.

By late afternoon New Zealand time each day, millions of Sri Lankans are waking up and drinking Anchor milk powder in their tea over breakfast – milk that Scott Nelson, Fonterra's Te Rapa site operations manager, and his team at the Waikato dairy factory produce. In fact, Sri Lankans love the milk produced at Te Rapa so much they drink millions of glasses of it every day.

We've all driven past the big building that has been standing so proudly on the Waikato landscape since 1967. But who knew it produced whole milk powder for millions of Sri Lankans every year, and what else goes on behind those factory doors.

Nelson says: "People might not realise how important the site is in terms of New Zealand's footprint on the world stage."

Denis Wanihi, cream plant packing operator at Fonterra's Te Rapa site puts the final touches on for shipping.
BRUCE MERCER/FAIRFAX NZ

Denis Wanihi, cream plant packing operator at Fonterra's Te Rapa site puts the final touches on for shipping.

Here they make everything from the Anchor whole milk powder that is a hit in Sri Lanka, through to speciality milk products, including mascarpone (used as an ice cream base in Japan), cream cheese (used in tea macchiatos – a drink so popular in China there are often queues to buy it) and mini-dish butter sold to hotels, restaurants and commercial kitchens in China.

Consistency, quality and protecting the goodness of dairy are all essential as far as Fonterra's products go. That means thinking about the consumer, wherever they are in the world. "Our guys talk about what food they are making, and for who, every day," says Nelson. "We want to make sure that when the consumer in Sri Lanka or wherever they may be open our product, it will be the same every time."

There's no better way of understanding the care that is taken in producing some of the world's best dairy than visiting the source. That's what two very special guests got when they were treated to a tour at the Te Rapa dairy factory recently.

The Fonterra team at Te Rapa.
SUPPLIED

The Fonterra team at Te Rapa.

The pair, parents of a Fonterra employee, were on holiday from their homeland of Sri Lanka. They wanted to take part in an open day put on for friends and family of Te Rapa factory staff because they were keen to see where their milk came from.

The holiday tour had big benefits for both workers and visitors alike, as Nelson explains. "Our ultimate goal is to deliver for our customers, and for these two people it was a chance to meet the team producing Sri Lanka's loved Anchor milk powder."

"Not only that, it helped our team build great pride in what they do" says Nelson.

The Sri Lanka-Te Rapa milk powder business is one built on many years of cooperation and understanding, explains Nelson: "Sri Lanka has grown up with Te Rapa. Through Anchor, we've provided high quality and nutritious dairy that's been trusted by generations. The full cream milk powder we make has been enriched with vitamins to support the daily nutrition of families in Sri Lanka."

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In fact, last year alone, Sri Lankans enjoyed 2.4 billion glasses of milk produced by Fonterra. You can read more about how Anchor has been one of Sri Lanka's most loved brands for almost 40 years.

To check out more about how Fonterra brings milk to Sri Lanka and other parts of the world visit www.fromheretoeverywhere.co.nz

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