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How strategic partnerships grow exports

'The partnership with Itochu Australia has significantly strengthened Burra Foods' export capacity and global presence by linking it to an integrated and successful international trader.'
Burra Foods Australia

Top tips

  • Locate your business in a region where you can easily access staff with the right skills
  • In a competitive market, ensure your product is unique
  • A strong partnership can boost export capacity and global presence

The opportunity 

Established in 1991, Burra Foods Australia is a dairy ingredient processor, producing and marketing value-added dairy ingredients for the global food manufacturing market.

Its products include natural cheese, fresh milk concentrates, food preparations, specialty milk powders and fresh dairy products.

Burra Foods' processing facilities are located in South Gippsland, one of the leading milk production regions in Australia. The business also has offices in Tokyo and Melbourne.

The Gippsland region provides a skilled and stable labour pool from which Burra Foods has been able to attract, train and retain staff over the past 20 years. The company has gained significant international market experience and earned a reputation for being a reliable supplier of high quality dairy ingredients.

Burra Foods processes more than 250 million litres of milk each year and exports to many of the world's leading dairy and food manufacturers. Key export markets include Japan, as well as other countries in north Asia, south east Asia and the Middle East.

A strategic partnership

In 2009, the company entered into a strategic partnership with long-term client Itochu Australia, which aims to expand milk powder production for the Asian export market.

This partnership incorporates significant site investments including the establishment of a new state-of-the-art milk powder concentrate production facility - with a high capacity dryer, evaporator, and wastewater treatment facility.

This project incorporated a $2.1 million electricity upgrade, supported by the Victorian Government.

With a drier capacity of 5.5 tonnes per hour and a daily site milk processing capacity of more than 1 million litres, the new powder plant doubled total production to 39,000 tonnes in 2011.

Company turnover has also grown as a result, doubling to $160 million in 2010. Following the construction of the new facility, total employees increased from 80 to 130 and milk supply doubled to 150 farmers in just one year.

The partnership with Itochu Australia has significantly strengthened Burra Foods' export capacity and global presence by linking it to an integrated and successful international trader.

Opportunities created as a result of the new partnership and powder production facility has lifted exports from 70 to 85-90 per cent of total product.

While Burra Foods continue to focus on value-added ingredients, the expansion into milk powders complements its overall strategy of adding value to the key components of raw milk – milk fat, milk protein and lactose (milk sugar).

Awards

Governor's Award for Export Innovation in 2000 and 2002

Rabobank Monash University Agribusiness Export Award for Excellence in 2000

The result

With a new powder production facility and a partnership with long-term client Itochu Australia, Burra Foods Australia has lifted exports from 70 per cent to 85-90 per cent of total product.