NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand dairy company, Westland Milk Products has announced plans to boost consumer butter production as part of the company’s strategy to move away from being a supplier of bulk commodity butter.

Westland Milk said it is investing NZD 40 million (about US$27.8 million) to upgrade its Hoktika plant and increase the production capacity of its consumer butter brand.

The upgrades which will start in May are expected to almost double the production of the company’s Westgold butter brand to 42,000 tonnes a year.

Facility expansion and upgrade comes almost two years after the company was bought by Chinese dairy giant Yili back in 2019, in a deal worth US$403 million.

Shiqing Jia, resident director of Westland Milk said that the new investment highlights the important role Westland plays in Yili’s ongoing plans to supply international industrial and consumer markets.

“In future, demand for butter production and processing of Yili and Yili subsidiary brands will be considerable, and the upgraded Westland plant will play an important role,” added Jia.

Arla prepares ground for new light butter

Meanwhile, Arla Foods has said that is expanding its Lurpak Lighter portfolio with the introduction of a new light butter.

According to Arla, the new product set to hit UK shelves next month, comes after consumer research showed that light or reduced-fat products are often perceived as unnatural and containing many ingredients.

“A key barrier we see in the category is that consumers often believe that lower fat means unnatural,” said Laura Butler, spokesperson for Lurpak.

“As the number one brand in the category, we want to tackle this and offer shoppers a new block butter product that is lower in fat and contains only three natural ingredients.”

In response to this finding, Arla foods made the new block butter from just three ingredients: butter, water and salt.

In 2019, Arla Foods introduced new recyclable and reclosable Lurpak box packaging, as it aimed to address consumer frustrations with foil packaging.

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