Yili’s Westland Milk Products breaks ground on lactoferrin plant in Hokitika


Yili Group, a Chinese dairy company, has announced that its subsidiary, Westland Milk Products, has initiated the construction of an NZD 70 million ($42.58 million) lactoferrin plant in Hokitika, New Zealand.

This investment positions Yili Group to be one of the top three global leaders in the lactoferrin market, holding a market share of around 10 percent.

Lactoferrin, a versatile natural protein with immune benefits, antibacterial properties, and antioxidant functions, finds extensive application in the food, pharmaceutical, and other industries.

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Recognizing the growing consumer demand for lactoferrin and health-enhancing products, Yili Group has dedicated substantial resources to research and development to overcome extraction challenges associated with lactoferrin.

Yili Group’s subsidiary Westland Milk Products breaks ground on lactoferrin plant in Hokitika, New Zealand

Yili Group’s subsidiary Westland Milk Products breaks ground on lactoferrin plant in Hokitika, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of PRNewsfoto/Yili Group.

Over time, Yili Group has successfully developed its proprietary directional lactoferrin extraction and protection technology, which significantly improves the quality of protein ingredients and enhances extraction efficiency.

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Analysts consider lactoferrin to be a critical and limited resource within the dairy industry. Therefore, this project represents a significant milestone for Yili Group, as it addresses key technological barriers, strengthens global influence, and supports long-term strategic growth initiatives.

Westland Milk Products CEO Richard Wyeth said: “Today’s launch of the lactoferrin program will secure Westland as one of the world’s leading producers of highly prized bioactive ingredients.

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“The investment also signals Yili’s commitment to take the global lead in the high-value bioactive dairy ingredients sector.”

“We were one of the first to market with this highly specialised protein ingredient, and over the past 20 years have established a reputation as a manufacturer of a product of exceptional quality.

“Our bioactive ingredients innovation pipeline is well advanced, and we’re excited to be a step closer to bringing these concepts to commercialisation.”

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