After being dogged by claims about its entitlement to the wage subsidy, the country’s largest meat processor will now fully pay it back.
Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane says with most Americans in some form of lockdown there has been an explosion in home cooking and butter sales have benefitted.
The company got its butter stock into the US market before the lockdown took effect there.
“At this stage the distribution in the US is still working and while there have been some disruptions, the food distribution system hasn’t fallen apart,” Cullinane told Dairy News.
“I don’t believe that we will have trouble getting more butter up to the US and our prediction is that demand for our product will continue to increase significantly,” he says.
Lewis Road Creamery has products in 700 stores across the US, forging a special relationship with supermarket chain WholeFoods, which specialises in selling organic and ‘natural’ products. WholeFoods is owned by Amazon and Cullinane says they are a perfect match for the products produced by his company.
“We are approved to sell in all WholeFoods stores, although at this stage we are not in all of them. We initially started off selling in California and Texas, but now we have coverage right across the US and with WholeFoods we have coverage right up in the north east of the US,” he says.
Back in NZ, Cullinane says their sales have not decreased as a result of Covid-19.
Its Jersey Milk remains one of the standout products. He says when it was announced that NZ was going into lockdown, his board has a special meeting to see how they might deal with the situation.
“When the lockdown was announced we took advantage of the Government’s wage subsidy because we thought sales were going to be 30% below normal. But this was not the case and we had great pleasure in returning that subsidy in full,” he says.