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Echelon Group - News Post

Mataura Valley Milk lures PhD students to Gore to produce top nutritional formulas

Mataura Valley Milk is attracting top talent to Gore as part of its $240 million partnership to produce premium infant formulas for the world’s most discerning markets.

General manager Bernard May said highly qualified and experienced staff had to be recruited to manufacture premium nutritional formulas.

“These people could choose to work anywhere in the world but are choosing to take up the opportunity to be part of developing the world’s best nutrition business right here in Gore,” May said.

Mataura Valley Milk would employ 65 people, with the most of the positions to be filled by the end of the year, he said.

The project is expected to contribute $90 million to the Southland economy each year and is already pumping millions of dollars into Gore through contractor, sub-contractor and service industry work at the McNab plant site.

The company is also making a $6.5m investment to upgrade Gore District Council’s wastewater infrastructure.

May said the nutrition plant was highly specialised and unlike any other in Australasia.

“It’s not a dairy plant – it is a nutrition plant. We will be making premium nutritional formulas that sit at the highest end of the nutritional dairy product mix, focused on the premium to super-premium end of the consumer market.”

Technical manager Matt Steven moved south from Canterbury this month and will be joined by his wife, Jo, who is taking up a quality technologist role with the company.

Steven, who has a PhD in Food Science, worked for Nestle in Switzerland for a decade, and has spent the past two years with Synlait in Canterbury.

The couple love their outdoor activities, including whitewater canoeing, skiing, tramping and mountain-biking.

“Anyone who has spent any time in Gore absolutely loves it. It’s easy to get around, you can have a great lifestyle, and you’re not always stuck in the car,” Steven said.

Technical officer Susan Wang, who has a double PhD in molecular biology and veterinary science, also jumped at the opportunity to live and work in Gore.

Wang, from Beijing, is living on a farm near Gore with a local farming couple.

“I’m passionate about animals and have always felt a real connection to them.”

She is enjoying the Kiwi lifestyle and is slowly exploring Southland, including a trip around the Southern Scenic Route, and intends to visit as much of New Zealand as she can.

Wang said she hoped to contribute to the continued growth of knowledge in the nutritionals industry in New Zealand.

Production is set to begin next August, with about 30,000 tonnes of infant formula will be manufactured each year at full capacity. The plant will process about 500,000 litres of whole milk a day while producing nutritional products.