Synlait was founded to ensure that global consumers were able to access some of the best that New Zealand dairying had to offer.

It began with a vision of partnering globally with people as passionate about business excellence, integrity, and quality of product, as we are about our farmers, the quality of the milk they produce, and having some of the world’s best milk processing and food safety systems.

That’s where the name Synlait comes from – Synergy and Milk. We get great people working together to provide families living in the modern world with food to support a healthy lifestyle.


From the outset it was clear that Canterbury was one of the best places in the world for pastoral dairy farming, and the world’s most modern dairy farmers would soon call it home. Leading by example, our first commercial project was the purchase and development of ‘Robindale’ farm. This quickly grew to a 3,000 cow dairy farm, one of the largest and most innovative farms in New Zealand. It remains Synlait’s largest supplying farm to this day. Over the next five years we continued to develop dairy farms, with a view to establishing a milk supply base from which to start an innovative processing business.


By 2005 Synlait Limited owned eight farms and had the cornerstone block of milk supply it had been striving for. Its focus shifted to building a customer base for its dairy ingredients with partners that had the leading brand position in each market.


With clear market support, and with our own farms and others keen for a new way of partnering with customers, we made the decision to establish our own manufacturing site.


A world-class team with a wealth of dairy industry and global business experience was brought together. The vision of providing milk nutrition to a modern world inspired some of New Zealand’s most respected industry executives and bright rising stars to join the company. Construction of the plant begun on 5 ha of Dunsandel Dairies, one of Synlait Ltd’s larger farms.


The first milk was processed on the 8 August 2008 in our brand new manufacturing plant. After seven years of hard work, our vision had become a reality. Further success in contracting milk from third party suppliers meant an extension of the plant was viable, and enabled the manufacture of Skim Milk Powder at 1.5 million litres of raw milk per day.


By now the first manufacturing plant was operating at capacity, and a second small scale spray drier had been built. This gave us the capability to produce 1 – 2000 MT/per annum of formulated milk products, premium quality colostrum powders, hyper immune powder and other specialised high value dairy products. The ability to collaborate with a range of new partners and accelerate the development of new, innovative products was invaluable.


Synlait had established a wide customer base and considerable capability in spray drying and milk powder technology. Many of our early customers were using Synlait ingredients for Infant Formula manufacture, attracted by the quality of our milk supply, modern plant, and world-class food safety systems. This helped us develop a clear strategy of moving beyond ingredients to become a significant global supplier of infant nutritional products. Bright Dairy of China became a significant partner and shareholder in 2010, and construction began on the largest and most sophisticated purpose built infant formula facility in the Southern Hemisphere.


On 15 September Synlait processed its first milk through its new state-of-the-art infant formula facility. Synlait now had the capability to create health and nutritional products to unique customer specifications. The expansion of Synlait has been led by passionate and knowledgeable Directors who continue to move the company forward. We remain committed to our original vision of ensuring that global consumers have access to the very best that New Zealand dairying has to offer.


In 2012 a series of significant milestones were achieved in what was our fourth year of production. It was a year of sustained growth with the most important result being the achievement of a $6.3 million profit after tax. A strategic refresh saw us place even more emphasis on our vision to become the supplier of choice to some of the world’s best milk-based health and nutrition companies. We became clearly focused on our value added milk powder and nutritional powder business, and building a reputation for quality and technical excellence.