Leading food maker Nestlé will move its Australian noodle production to Malaysia, resulting in the loss of 50 jobs.

Nestlé said it had developed new technology to produce healthier noodles in Malaysia. However, given the size of its production in New Zealand and Australia, the company said it was not feasible to install the technology at its Pakenham site in Australia.

The move, scheduled for next year, demonstrates the growing role of Asia as a production site for multinational food companies. In July this year Nestlé said it would invest MYR100m (US$28.6m) in upgrading its Malaysian manufacturing facilities.

The Pakenham plant will continue to produce frozen prepared foods including the Lean Cuisine range. Nestlé will also "continue to investigate opportunities to build our frozen foods business", said Wayne England, business executive manager at Nestlé Australia.