Corporate dairy farmer Southern Pastures has signed a three-year $50 million sustainability-linked farm loan with BNZ.
Lewis Road Creamery grass-fed butter, sold in the US and Australia, is made from New Zealand milk that meets a stringent ‘10 Star Premium Standard’ that covers grass-fed, free-range, animal welfare, human welfare, environmental sustainability, and climate change mitigation.
The grass-fed butter journey starts at Southern Pastures dairy farms in Canterbury.
Southern Pastures executive chairman Prem Maan says the 10 Star farming system is designed to deliver healthy products that attract a premium price among consumers.
“We set out to create the best butter in the world and we have – in terms of its nutritional analysis. So, when we turned to the export markets, we led with butter exports under the Lewis Road Creamery brand into the US….that has gone very well and butter is now available throughout Australia as well,” he told Dairy News.
In 2019, Southern Pastures bought a 50% stake in Lewis Road Creamery.
Maan says his company needed a brand partner to get its 10 Star products to global customers.
“We were very fortunate in the timing that Lewis Road Creamery was looking for a cornerstone shareholder.
“Peter Cullinane, its founder, had built an amazing domestic brand and we saw an opportunity to grow it into an internatonal dairy brand for our 10 Star premium dairy products.”
Lewis Road Creamery says its butter has become the first New Zealand dairy product to be stocked US-wide by American supermarket giant Whole Foods which exclusively sells products free from hydrogentated fats and artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
The New Zealand grass-fed butter is now on Whole Foods shelves in 37 states, including in flagship stores in Union Square, New York, and Austin, Texas.
At US$6.99 for an 8oz (225grams) pack, the butter now retails as the most expensive grass-fed butter per pound being sold nationally by Whole Foods.
Cullinane says products from NZ grass-fed milk are revered in the US.
“The things we take for granted - our cows living outside, eating fresh grass - are absolutely prized over there, to a degree that’s taken even us by surprise,“ says Cullinane.
“It shows that we can put New Zealand butter back on the world stage, not as an export commodity going into other bulk products, but as a stand-out brand in its own right.”
Lewis Road Creamery’s grass-fed butter is also sold in 950 Woolworth’s stores in Australia.