Westland Milk Products formed just over 80 years ago on the West Coast of the South Island, with 60 suppliers milking 3,129 cows – by hand. Today, Westland is New Zealand’s second-largest dairy co-operative collecting milk from over four hundred suppliers on the West Coast and Canterbury, exporting products to over 50 countries. Westgold has sold millions of blocks of butter to international markets, and now Kiwis are getting the chance to experience New Zealand’s champion butter.
Westgold is made using traditional churning methods in the West Coast. The high rainfall and sunshine hours make for excellent conditions to grow grass and the predominately jersey and jersey-cross cows produce a creamier milk that goes into the butter.
“We identified a gap in the everyday premium space on supermarket shelves here in New Zealand,” said Westgold senior brand manager Stephen Buckingham. “More importantly New Zealand consumers, particularly those who had tried the product, told us they wanted to see Westgold in stores.” The move into the New Zealand market has been hugely successful, with over a million blocks of butter sold in the past 12 months – a notable achievement in a highly competitive market. According to Nielsen data, Westgold had the fastest growth rate in the category in the last quarter at 1,085% vs. YA* Westgold had the second highest contribution to butter growth.
This can be attributed in part to the move away from processed spreads back to butter, and a desire for authenticity and quality in food. “The biggest opportunity for the butter category is to listen to the wants and needs of those consumers and provide products,” explained Buckingham.
As a relative newcomer to the New Zealand market, Westgold had to communicate a point of difference. “We use the gold foil packaging, communication and supermarket point of sale to let consumers know Westgold is an award-winning, crafted, ‘everyday premium’ butter that our consumers tell us tastes amazing and that we can be proud of!” The gold foil packaging has been a hit, with consumers communicating via social media and the call centre that it helps to keep Westgold butter fresher for longer than parchment paper.
In 2016, Westgold Unsalted butter won the Gold Medal Butter and Category Champion awards at the prestigious New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards. The salted variety also took home a bronze. In 2017, both salted and unsalted butters won bronze medals, and were the only retail/ consumer branded butter to win an award. Westgold is looking to develop with a number of new products in the pipeline, and not just butter – Westgold UHT Whipping cream is available in China and is used on many international cruise ships. “The biggest opportunity for Westgold is to continue to innovate and build a range of products built on the traditions and care that goes into Westgold butter,” said Buckingham.
Internationally, Westgold can be found in Azerbaijan, the Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Brunei, Australia, Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea. Westgold is available in Countdown supermarkets nationwide, in all New World North Island supermarkets, selected Pak’nSave and selected New World South Island stores in New Zealand.