National Foods to review cheese manufacturing

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 26th August 2010

King Island cheesesNational Foods has announced it will undertake an extensive review of its cheese manufacturing operations across Australia.

The announcement follows a string of redundancies, consolidations and closures by the company this year.

National Foods said that the sites under review are Simpson and Campbellfield in Victoria, Jervois and Murray Bridge in South Australia, Kings Meadows, Burnie, King Island and Heidi Farm in Tasmania and Malanda in Queensland.

National Foods’ cheese portfolio includes many of Australia’s most popular cheese brands, including Coon, King Island, Tasmanian Heritage, Cracker Barrel, Australian Gold, South Cape, Mersey Valley, Heidi Farm, Millel and Tilba Club.

The company has exempted its Allansford cheese manufacturing site in Victoria from the review, given it recently underwent a review and has been the subject of a new supply agreement with Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.

“National Foods’ cheese manufacturing business has evolved through brand and site acquisitions during the past 10 years and to ensure it remains a leading producer of everyday and speciality cheeses we must provide capital investment into our operations,” read a press release.

“The review will consider the duplication in our network, the long-term viability and sustainability of our sites and will look at innovation, technology and current and future environmental requirements.”

Previous reviews this year at National Foods have ended in plant closures, transfers of equipment and many redundancies, and it is likely that the company’s cheese operations will be the next to fall victim to a tightened belt.

National Foods said the review was expected to be completed in February 2011, with some “improvement opportunities” possibly being implemented in the meantime.

“For now, it is very much business at usual at all of the sites under review. Our people, product quality and safety remain our key focus now and in the future,” they said.