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Significant United States opportunity for Westgold butter

11 Nov 2022 10:52 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

Westgold butter produced at Westland Milk Products’ new Hokitika plant, is on the shelves of 550 Walmart stores across 19 states in the United States.

The launch of Westgold butter into the potentially lucrative United States market follows Westland’s $40 million investment last year in the new Hokitika butter manufacturing plant which has doubled capacity of the company’s consumer butter production to a total of 42,000 tonnes a year. The new plant was officially opened in July this year.  

Westland’s General Manager Sales and Marketing, Hamish Yates, says the launch of Westgold butter into Walmart stores is significant and the first step in the company’s global expansion into the United States market.

“The United States market for our Westgold butter has huge potential. We know that consumers in the United States are butter users, often having multiple brands and types of butter on hand for different purposes,” Hamish Yates says.

“Also in our favour is our point of difference based around our high grass-fed percentage, our unique West Coast of New Zealand origin and our Westgold attitude.’’

Hamish Yates says Westgold’s challenge will be to stand out to shoppers in the United States butter market which is dominated by long-standing brands. Consumers are in a habit of purchasing the familiar brands they grew up with, he says.

For the first time Westgold was launched into a new market supported from the outset by a full consumer-facing brand marketing campaign

Westgold’s marketing team developed the campaign taking into account research findings to determine the drivers for purchase, how consumers learn about new food brands, where they shop, their household demographics, approaches to cooking with butter, and more.

Key insights from this research show that a little over half of all “family chefs’’ in the United States bake weekly, that 67 per cent of these family chefs discover new foods from social media posts and that 65 per cent find out about new food from shopping in store.

Around half these family chefs are highly likely to purchase global food brands, and 83 per cent of family chefs prefer organic and/or grass-fed butter.

Hamish Yates says the insights were invaluable in developing a campaign which centres around positioning Westgold as a ‘Natural Champion’. Promotional activity to date in the United States has included sampling events to introduce consumers to the brand, underway currently in California with a 12-day tour of the ‘Butter Bar’, encouraging them to try the product. Also in play is advertising on Walmart’s online shopping platform, and digital channels, a social media influencer campaign across TikTok, Instagram, and email direct marketing.


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