Westland Milk Products has announced it’s building a new $70 million lactoferrin plant at its Hokitika facility.
The investment, supported by its parent company Yili Group, is expected to see production capacity triple for the multifunctional protein.
Lactoferrin is a minor protein in milk with growing international demand across a variety of nutritional categories because of its reported health benefits.
The plant upgrade follows a $40m investment that doubled consumer butter production at Hokitika.
That increased global sales of the product after it was completed in 2021.
Westland resident director Zhiqiang Li said the investment signals 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%.”
Global demand for lactoferrin in the past five years has outstripped Westland’s production capacity with demand expected to continue to increase.
Construction of the new plant is expected to take 16 months. It is currently planned to begin in the first half of 2024.
The new facility will have the capability to produce multiple new bioactive products and the option for future expansion.
The current facility produces 20t a year.
Westland chief executive Richard Wyeth said the investment extends the company’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.