The venture will supply whey proteins from First Milks plant in Cumbria

The venture will supply whey proteins from First Milk's plant in Cumbria

Fonterra, the New Zealand dairy giant, has signed a deal to make whey proteins with UK co-op First Milk.

The venture, announced today (5 September), will see the companies produce "premium" whey proteins at First Milk's Lake District creamery in Cumbria in the UK.

The announcement comes three months after Fonterra told just-food it was in talks with European dairy processors over possible ventures.

Fonterra said today that the venture with First Milk would help with its goal of supplying European customers locally.

"This deal underpins Fonterra's strategic focus on premium ingredients, in particular milk and whey proteins. Furthermore, we are very pleased to secure First Milk's whey protein, enabling Fonterra to offer custom-made, premium whey protein ingredients to the major food companies in Europe," Koert Liekelema, MD of Fonterra's operations in Europe, said.

First Milk said the deal would "add value" to its cheese making process and help it improve the returns it can pay its farmer shareholders.

"Obviously the UK market remains the bedrock of our business. However, it is also important that we explore opportunities, such as this one with Fonterra, that have the potential to deliver enhanced returns for our dairy farmers," chief executive Kate Allum said.

The whey proteins made at First Milk's Lake District creamery will be used in Fonterra's functional and cultured nutrition ingredients like PowerProtein and ElevateProtein.