Rokko Butter Co., teaming with trading giant Mitsubishi Corp., has launched production of processed cheese in Indonesia in its first foray into a foreign market.

Undertaking production is PT. Emina Cheese Indonesia, a joint venture 49 percent owned by Rokko and the rest by Mitsubishi.

"Current consumption of cheese in Indonesia is around 30,000 tons a year, while in Japan it has reached around 340,000 tons. With the presence of Emina in Indonesia, we hope that the future level of cheese consumption in Indonesia can exceed that of Japan," Rokko President Tetsuo Tsukamoto said at a ceremony last week marking the inauguration of Emina's factory in the MM2100 industrial area in Cikarang, West Java.

"In addition, our goal here is to help change the lifestyle of Indonesians who are used to eating sweet foods," he added. The factory is capable of producing 2,000 tons a year.

Emina, established in 2017 with initial capital of 258 billion rupiah ($18 million), is producing the first stick-type cheese in Indonesia as well as block cheese, each of which comes in three flavors.

Hiroyuki Okada, Emina president, said it took approximately four years to conduct R&D in Indonesia, including the acquisition of halal certification from the Institution for Food, Drug and Cosmetic Studies of the Indonesian Ulema Council.

At present, Emina cheese is available at retail stores such as Lawson, Papaya, Aeon, Food Hall, FamilyMart, Grand Lucky and Ranch Market in Jakarta and surrounding areas as well as Surabaya, East Java.

"We are planning to export Emina cheese to neighboring countries from next year as our target is to become the No. 1 cheese company in Indonesia," Okada said.