NEW ZEALAND – The Hokitika-based subsidiary of China’s Yili, Westland Milk, has acquired a privately owned dairy manufacturer Canary Foods for an undisclosed amount.

Under the deal, Canary Foods will become a subsidiary of Westland Milk Products, retaining its brands and third-party manufacturing agreements.

Canary will also continue to develop and expand its portfolio of Canary-branded products as well as work as a third-party manufacturer for other great New Zealand brands.

Canary Foods, which was established in 2001, exports 75 percent of its dairy products including “reworked” premium butter and cheese-based products such as butter sheets and medallions for use in the retail and food service sectors, including supermarkets, airlines, restaurants, and bakeries.

Canary Foods Executive Director and shareholder James Gray said the acquisition by Westland would give the Waikato-based dairy manufacturer more opportunities for expansion and access to global markets.

Westland CEO Richard Wyeth said the purchase of Canary Foods would merge New Zealand’s rich West Coast dairy heritage with an innovative business that has already spread its wings to international markets.

Mr. Gray added that the company used the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to reassess its strategy and now, after record sales last year and with international travel and the hospitality sector set to take off, it is already in a strong position as these markets continue to bounce back.’

Mr. Wyeth stated: “Canary is a fantastic fit for our business because it is so obviously based on a strong understanding of what our customers want and need. Their commitment to innovation, sustainability, and quality in pursuit of consumer demands are values we very much admire and uphold.”

“After our US$40 million investment in doubling our consumer butter manufacturing capacity at Hokitika, this extends our long-term commitment to add value to Westland’s butter portfolio by playing a greater role in the expanding global consumer butter and spread market.

“Westland continues to go from strength to strength under our parent company Yili. Yili’s investment has helped us turn our performance across the entire company around and we’re now in a very strong position to capitalize on that.”

The New Zealand dairy is motivated by Canary’s development of a world-first compostable, individually sized butter squeeze pack in response to consumer demands for ethically responsible packaging and global calls for an end to single-use plastics.

Mr. Wyeth commented that this is a great example of a New Zealand company leading the world in research and development and Westland Milk looks forward to getting behind this culture of innovation even further.

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