The top secret room inside the Clandeboye cheese factory

As any cheese lover will confirm, it’s the oozy, gooey goodness that makes a slice of pizza taste so great but getting it right is a quite a science.

Luckily, there’s a whole community in South Canterbury that is masterful with mozzarella.

They are the people that supply the milk and work in Fonterra’s Clandeboye factory.

Steve McKnight is Clandeboye Operations Manager, or as we like to call him, the big cheese.

“You’re looking at the stretch, you’re looking at the texture, you’re looking at the colours, you’re looking at how it all fits and binds together and people do eat with their eyes first and that’s pretty cool.”

The special room shown in the video reveals just how seriously the team here takes the art of making mozzarella.

Every half an hour or so, cheese is taken off the production line which runs 24 hours a day and made into pizza.  It’s then checked for stretch and taste and photographed.

Mr McKnight said those who visit the Clandeboye site, such as recent bunch of graduates, are amazed at the hidden pizza room.

“You should have seen their faces, holding stretchy cheese between their arms. That’s what we’re looking to replicate in market.”

Scientists from Fonterra’s Research and Development Centre have spent more than twenty years perfecting the process of making mozzarella. It’s very high tech. They’ve managed to reduce the three-month making process down to just six hours.  

No wonder it’s in such hot demand, particularly in China where more than 40 percent of urbanites eat at Western-style fast food outlets once a week. Kiwi mozzarella covers half of all pizzas made there.


  • Fonterra Clandeboye employs 865 people at the job plant
  • 895 out of Fonterra’s 10,500  farming families produce for Clandeboye
  • Clandeboye mozzarella is made with completely natural ingredients
  • 78 tankers collect up to 12.4m litres of milk every day
  • There’s enough milk to fill 70 shipping containers daily
  • Clandeboye mozzarella is exported to 70 markets
  • Enough is made to cover 300 million pizzas a year

To keep up with the global appetite for Kiwi mozzarella, Clandeboye is expanding to the tune of $240 million.

It will create jobs for about 100 more people in the region and allow Fonterra to make twice as much stretchy cheese making the largest producer of natural mozzarella in the southern hemisphere.

That’s very satisfying indeed.

Check out the other ways Fonterra is sharing Kiwi innovation with the world at

This article and video have been created for Fonterra by Newshub's sponsored content division.