Former Westland Milk chairman Pete Morrison says Yili’s new ownership represents a significant milestone for the former co-op and the start of a new era for the dairy industry on the West Coast.
Organised by the New Zealand Talented Chef Exchange Association, the delegation of senior chefs was treated to home-baked scones made with Westgold butter, topped with local jam and whipped Westgold UHT cream at Westland’s Rolleston plant last week.
The chef’s positive reaction comes on top of Westland also confirming a new large-scale order for UHT cream into China for a new customer.
Westland Chief Executive Toni Brendish says there is increasing interest from Chinese consumers toward western-style baked goods.
“Bakery items featuring cream are a rapidly growing component of the Chinese food service market. We have just confirmed a deal with 85°C Bakery Café to provide them with a substantial, ongoing order for Westgold UHT cream, with the prospects of that increasing as the market continues to grow.
“This is a good example of our new focus on the food service sector in China,” Brendish added. “By developing mutually beneficial relationships with key accounts and major distributors, we are able to use their resources, tied in with our expertise in high quality production using New Zealand milk, to gain traction for Westland in markets that have enormous potential.”
Westland’s marketing manager Charlotte Sullivan says the reaction by the visiting chefs to Westgold UHT cream bodes well for sales in China.
“The eight chefs were from some of China’s most prominent restaurants and hotels,” Sullivan said. “It was an opportunity to talk directly with people who are at the front line of food trends in China and learn more about their dairy requirements. They were very open and helped build our understanding of how they choose different creams and butters for different recipes.”
Reggie Li, President of the New Zealand Talented Chef Exchange Association, says it was great for the chefs to have the opportunity to learn about Westland and its products.
“It is a very friendly, professional company; very focused on people, and changing their life quality. The impression we got is that people can trust and enjoy their products.”
The delegation was also treated to some high technology virtual reality, which enabled them to experience a three dimensional ‘visit’ to a Westland shareholder’s dairy farm without having to do so much as slipping on a pair of gumboots.