Westland’s connection to the Yili Innovation Centres (YICs), global innovation powerhouses owned by our parent company Yili, is helping us in our quest for new products, processes and technologies.

Through the YICs, we can now access global expertise and research which offer opportunities to develop and improve uses for our grass-fed milk. Yili’s vision is to be the world’s most trusted healthy food provider and its innovation centres are key to achieving this with their research and development across all facets of the dairy industry, from production to the final consumer products.

The YICs are now at the forefront of global research and innovation into nutrition and health, product and process technology, food safety and farm management. This includes how to increase productivity and at the same time reduce the environmental impact of the farming process.

While most of Westland’s connection is with the Yili Innovation Centre Europe (YICE, Wageningen University in the Netherlands) and Yili Innovation Centre Oceania (YICO, Lincoln University New Zealand), there are also three centres in China (Hohhot, Beijing and Shanghai). All connect globally to share their research, leverage international research groups, and drive innovation linked to sustainable development and social responsibility. There are also extensive laboratory and pilot plant facilities at YICE and the China YICs.

Research being managed by the YICO is highly relevant to Westland. It includes ingredient development, food safety, sustainability, adult and infant nutrition, and on-farm improvements, all with a New Zealand focus.

Of particular interest is research into the advantages of grass-fed dairy production, including the opportunities of grazing stock on alternative pastures and the nutritional benefits of milk and its ingredients.

Westland is also benefitting from some of the current research projects at the Yili Innovation Centre Europe which include improving the flavour and texture of dairy products.

We enjoy our strong links to the innovation centres as we collaborate to scout opportunities for innovation and develop healthy, safe, and nutritious products.