Jeremy Hill, Fonterra’s chief science and technology officer said, in a statement on the company's website, that the new test reduces the time required for processing results, cutting the costs by 99%.

Instead of taking days or weeks the test can be carried out on hundreds of samples in seconds. The instant results ensure a quality, safe supply of dairy nutrition.

He went on to say “the composition of milk varies seasonally, and between farms and regions. This means milk from one of our farms may be better suited to one specific product rather than another.

"Milk Fingerprinting provides information about each farm’s milk so rapidly that when combined with our sophisticated tanker scheduling system, we can now send our milk to the manufacturing site that will get the most value out of every drop," Hill said.

The co-op invests more than NZ $90 million annually into R&D, more than many large multinational nutrition and technology companies.