NEW ZEALAND- Chinese dairy giant, Yili Group, has bolstered its overseas processing capacity with the opening of a new butter plant in Hokitika, New Zealand.

The facility, described as the ‘largest overseas butter factory’ built by a Chinese dairy company, will be under the Yili-owned dairy company, Westland Milk Products.

The opening comes after Yili Group undertook a major refurbishment and upgrade of its Hokitika Dairy Plant, including a new Westgold production line.

The Westgold butter brands are supplied to over 20 countries worldwide, including New Zealand, China, Australia, the United States, and Japan, the company added.

The company said Hokitika’s new butter plant has doubled its capacity to reach up to 42,000 tonnes a year, making it the largest butter plant on the west coast of New Zealand. 

Westland CEO Richard Wyeth said, “The original butter plant built in 1973 has now made way for a purpose-built facility.”

This allows us to double our capacity of small-format butter pats with modern, state-of-the-art machinery that still holds true to our traditional churn methods.”

Wyeth added that increasing butter capacity will mean Muen Butter is ‘no longer only reserved for master bakers’, but will also ‘go to the table of more ordinary consumers.

The opening coincided with celebrations to mark the third anniversary of Westland joining the Yili Group.

Yili said the move shows Westland Dairy has ‘opened a new chapter of development’ with the ‘collaborative support’ of Yili Group.

This investment in Westland Dairy comes at a time when the global butter market is witnessing substantial growth driven by increasing demand for processed food products and ready-to-eat meals among consumers.

Also, the rising demand for packaged products across retail and food service channels is expected to propel the butter market growth.

According to Fortune business Insight, the global butter market is projected to grow from US$37.01 billion in 2021 to US$49.07 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 4.11% during the forecast period 2021-2028.

The upgrade investment made in Westland Dairy is part of its commitment to building a mutually beneficial global network of resources, innovation, and markets.

Yili currently has 15 R&D and innovation centers and 74 production bases, bolstering its position as one of the world’s top five dairy companies and Asia’s largest player in the industry.

To achieve the company’s dream of “World Integrally Sharing Health”, Yili said it will continue to evolve to meet the nutritional needs of various groups of people across the world.

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