A new plant-based milk processing facility is to open in the province of Southland, New Zealand. The facility is being built by New Zealand Functional Foods in collaboration with Great South.
The factory is aimed mainly at producing oat milk — currently, local farmers have to send their oats overseas to be processed. Production at the factory will be carbon neutral.
The build is expected to take 12-14 months, though NZ Functional Foods has not yet acquired enough funding to begin construction.
Dairy is currently a cornerstone of the economy in Southland, but regional development agency Great South hopes that an increased focus on oat production could help to diversify it.
The new plant will play a key role in this diversification. It’s hoped that it will also create new jobs.
Plant milks are growing in popularity worldwide, and New Zealand is no exception. Last year, New Zealand oat milk brand Otis hit stores, announcing that it intended to overturn the dairy industry in the country. Meanwhile, the Vegan Society NZ released a report last March calling for the country to change its food system to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“The plant-based food and beverage market has exploded worldwide,” NZ Functional Foods chair Roger Carruthers told whatsoninvers.nz. “Southland is already on the world map as a premier destination for growing oats, due to our excellent climactic growing conditions, the quality of our soil, and plenty of water. All of this combined with New Zealand’s great reputation for safe, good-tasting food products will give us a real market advantage.”