Apr 26th 2023 /

$70m West Coast investment to secure Westland as global dairy leader

A major investment by West Coast dairy company Westland Milk Products will secure the company as one of the world’s leading producers of highly prized bioactive ingredients.

The $NZ70 million investment to construct a new lactoferrin plant at Westland’s Hokitika facility was announced today by Westland’s resident director, Zhiqiang Li, and company CEO Richard Wyeth.

The investment, supported by Westland’s parent company, the Yili Group, the fifth largest dairy company in the world, will more than treble production capacity of the multifunctional protein at Hokitika.

The plant upgrade follows a $40m investment which doubled consumer butter production at Hokitika, increasing global sales of the prize-winning product upon completion in 2021, including ranging of Westgold butter in US retail giant Walmart.

Lactoferrin is a minor protein in milk with growing international demand across a variety of nutritional categories because of its reported health benefits.


Westland Resident Director Zhiqiang Li said the investment signalled Westland’s commitment to take the lead in the high-value bioactive dairy ingredients sector.

“Westland is the only New Zealand commercial manufacturer of bovine colostrum powder and this move will place us in the top three leading global companies in the lactoferrin category, with a market share of approximately 10 per cent,’’ Mr Li said.

“We were one of the first to market with this highly specialised protein ingredient, and over the past 20 years have established a reputation as a manufacturer of a product of exceptional quality.’’

Westland CEO Richard Wyeth said the investment extends Westland’s focus on high-value consumer goods and specialised ingredients to leverage Westland’s growing international reputation as a producer of premium dairy products and ingredients.

“We cannot improve on the incredible quality of the natural product our farmers produce day after day but we can ensure that we extract maximum value for that product, and our lactoferrin strategy is a critical part of that,’’ Mr Wyeth said.

“Our bioactive ingredients innovation pipeline is well advanced, and we’re excited to be a step closer to bringing these concepts to commercialisation.’’

Global demand for lactoferrin in the last five years has far outstripped Westland’s production capacity with demand expected to continue to increase.

Construction of the new plant, which significantly increases production capacity at Hokitika from a current 20 metric tonne per annum, is expected to take 16 months. Construction is currently forecast for the first half of 2024.

The state-of-the-art new facility will have the capability to produce multiple new bioactive products and the option for future expansion.


With the addition of spray-dried lactoferrin to complement Westland’s freeze-dried lactoferrin range, Westland will be one of the only lactoferrin manufacturers in the world capable of producing both formats on the one site, a unique advantage for Westland’s customers.


For more information contact [email protected], Local +64 (03) 288 0213, Global +61 467 792 013.

About Yili

The Yili Group is the fifth largest dairy producer in the world according to Rabobank’s Global Top 20 rankings and has been the leading Chinese manufacturer of dairy products for the past nine years. The company is an A Class company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

About Westland

Westland Milk Products is a manufacturer of high-value consumer dairy products and nutritional ingredients. Its main production facility is located on the West Coast of New Zealand at Hokitika with another production facility located at Rolleston, on New Zealand’s South Island.

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