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Fonterra, US dairy group DMI research partnership

MEDIA RELEASE
3 February 2006

Fonterra and US dairy group DMI form research partnership

An international industry approach to promoting the health and nutritional benefits of dairy has moved a step closer with the signing of a joint research agreement between New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd and Dairy Management Inc (DMI), representing America’s major dairy producers.

The two organisations have agreed to fund strategic research into whey protein and body composition. The work will lay the framework for substantiating future health claims for marketing whey protein.

The agreement includes the establishment of a seed fund to help US researchers write proposals seeking funding from their Government for research into whey.

Whey is the watery liquid separated from curds during cheese making. Once discarded as waste, it is now concentrated and dried to produce a useful form of milk solids in food manufacture and a source of high quality protein for human nutrition.

Fonterra Director Innovation Bob Major says funding initial research into the health claims of whey will benefit consumers and the industry.

“Milk is a rich soup of health-giving properties. Consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious and this type of research will give them the confidence that the products they are consuming are good for them.

“The agreement with DMI leverages our mutual resources to advance the nutritional value of dairy proteins and enhance the image of dairy products and ingredients worldwide,” he said.

DMI Chief Executive Officer Tom Gallagher says the agreement represents a new approach to funding science that can help to show dairy’s competitive advantage over other protein-based products and help increase sales of dairy ingredients in new markets.

“This pre-competitive agreement between America’s dairy producers and Fonterra creates a new approach to funding science that can lead the dairy industry to increased sales by showing dairy’s competitive advantage over other protein-based products.”

The partnership reflects DMI’s role as a catalyst and innovator to establish new markets on behalf of America’s dairy producers, Mr Gallagher said.

As part of the initial agreement, US dairy producer-funded research will focus on the overall adult population and body composition, while Fonterra’s efforts will focus on sports nutrition and body composition. The results of the research will be jointly shared.

Subsequent agreements are expected to lead to expanded research in nutrition and dairy product development. Other potential nutrition research areas could include opportunities in cardiovascular health, immunology, bone health, and glucose control for diabetics.

Fonterra is a global dairy business and the world’s largest dairy exporter, with a cow-to-customer supply chain spanning more than 140 countries (see www.fonterra.com).

DMI is a non-profit domestic and international planning and management organisation, representing the American Dairy Association, National Dairy Council and the US Dairy Export Council (see www.dairyinfo.com).

ENDS

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