Fonterra has invested US$2.4m to open a new research and development centre in Chicago, Illinois.

The Chicago Technical Centre (CTC) will develop cheeses, paediatric formulas, beverages and bars for the North American market, the company said.

"Our investment in the CTC reinforces Fonterra's commitment to the US dairy industry and to innovation," said Martin Bates, Fonterra USA's president and COO.

"Along with the move earlier this year, of our corporate headquarters to Chicago, the CTC's location will allow more innovations to be tailored specifically to the needs of Fonterra's customers operating within the US and Canadian markets."

The CTC houses advanced processing equipment, a sample analysis lab and an ingredient supply site. It will allow the New Zealand dairy group to work directly with US customers, increasing its presence in the market.