Brownes Dairy has moved back into the local cheddar cheese market, launching a WA-made range in an effort to appeal to consumers on this side of the Nullarbor.
The cheese will be produced at the company's Brunswick creamery and will be marketed as the only cheddar made in WA from local milk. WA currently imports 15,000 tonnes of cheddar cheese a year.
It's the first time since 2006 that Brownes, which was founded by the Browne family in WA in 1886, has produced cheddar cheese for the WA market.
Brownes managing director Tony Girgis said the company planned to increase its milk intake from 129 million litres to 140 million litres this year to support production, with that growth in demand providing a benefit for about 45 local dairy farmers.
"The value and the ability for us to return a profit on cheese just didn't exist," she said.
"The good news is that cheese and the value that cheddar cheese has on the market now has enabled us to go back into cutting. We've also been very selective in how we play. So, we never chose the mild, 3-month old cheese which sells for under $10 for a kilo. We can't operate at a profit there. So we've been very selective in maturing our cheese and creating a premium quality product that West Australians can enjoy."
But it has got approval to export cheese to China, where owner Shanghai Ground Food Tech has the option to value add. Brownes was previously owned by Fonterra, and from 2011 by Sydney-based Archer Capital. It was sold to the Chinese consortium Australia Zhiran, which included Shanghai Ground Food, in 2017.
The new range of cheddar cheeses will hit WA supermarkets next month, but is already available through Brownes' home milk delivery service.