Yili to double butter capacity at Westland in NZ

Yili Group of China has announced it is investing NZ$40 million (€23.8m) in Westland Dairy, which it acquired in 2019. This will double capacity of premium consumer butter production at its Westland Dairy Company Limited (Westland) plant on the west coast of New Zealand.

The investment will transform the Hokitika-plant’s capability from being largely a producer of bulk commodity butter to one that has a vastly increased capacity to produce goods for the high-value global consumer market, the company says.

Since acquiring Westland in 2019, Yili has fully integrated the company into its global network, giving Westland access to extensive resources, market channels, technology and funding. The investment from Yili’s Goldrush project transforms Westland’s production, packaging and warehousing systems and will increase annual consumer butter production capacity to 42,000 tons.

More than 95% of Westland’s milk is sourced solely from natural grass-fed cows, grazing in the pastures of one of the world’s most unique dairy catchments. This area boasts a high annual rainfall and is regarded as a pristine dairy farming environment. Grass-fed milk is known to be rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and other nutrients.

Westgold’s salted and unsalted butter have been awarded the gold medals at the annual New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards three times, most recently in 2021. Westgold and Westland-produced butter is currently sold in more than 20 countries including China, the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

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