Westland Milk Products chief executive Toni Brendish.
New Zealand dairy company Westland Milk Products has announced plans to build a NZD 22 million ($15.1 million) plant at its facility in Hokitika, South Island.
The co-operative has secured a NZD 9.9 million ($6.7 million) loan from the country’s government to construct the unit, which is specifically designed for made-to-order segregation of milk types.
The plant will allow Westland to separately process (segregate) multiple types of special milk into high-value products to meet growing global and domestic demand.
Westland Milk Products claimed that a purpose-designed plant for processing multiple segregated products will be a “first” for the New Zealand dairy industry.
The unit – which is expected to be operational in time for the 2019-20 season – will also allow the co-operative to produce high-value segregated product even during the peak milk season.
Westland Milk chief executive Toni Brendish said segregated production of speciality milk is a key component of Westland’s five-year strategy.
“Westland needs to reduce its dependency on bulk dairy commodities with their volatile pricing cycles,” she said. “We’ll do this by expanding our capacity to produce high-value products, differentiated by the special qualities of the milk used to make them. This will include A2 milk and our new Ten Star Premium Standard milk. There is also potential, in later stages of the project, for other segregated products such as grass-fed, pure Jersey, goat or sheep milk, or even plant-based nutrition.”
She added: “We simply can’t compete in the bulk dairy commodities arena where we have little influence or control over the vagaries of the global dairy trade, and a reduced ability to ride out its highs and lows. If Westland is to thrive, and grow our vital contribution to the West Coast economy, we must focus on our best assets, including our heritage, location, people and, particularly, our smaller size, with the agility and flexibility that comes with that.
“It makes sense for us to focus on low volume, segregated, high-value products that are far less susceptible to the cycles of the global dairy trade market. There is growing demand from customers prepared to pay premium prices for bespoke products that meet their, and their consumers’, particular needs.”
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