Our Story

Our story began in 1995 as a packaging plant for the milk produced on Woodlands Farm, owned by the Gutsche family. Never forgetting our humble beginnings, Woodlands Dairy is now one of the largest manufacturers of UHT milk in South Africa, marketed under our brand FIRST CHOICE®. In addition to our FIRST CHOICE® brand, we also process, produce and package high-quality house brand dairy products for leading retailers such as SPAR and Woolworths.

You will find us along the South African Garden Route, right in the heart of the Eastern Cape dairy region in Humansdorp. Our company has a team of +-1400 people, and we pride ourselves on our innovative thinking, the speedy development of new products and excellent customer service.

Our range includes various cheeses, butter, cream, amasi, custard, flavoured milk and extended shelf life (ESL) fresh milk, UHT Milk, dairy desserts, dessert toppings and ice cream.


To be the most admired dairy company in Africa.


To produce and deliver superior food products, whilst honouring our commitment to our stakeholders by ensuring growth and prosperity through service excellence, integrity and the conservation of the environment.

Our Values

Integrity is paramount

  • We operate with integrity in all our dealings.

We are passionate about Woodlands Dairy

  • We are passionate about our business and brands.
  • We are highly energized and diligent.
  • We strive for excellence in everything we do.
  • We prize innovation that adds value.

We are driven by our customers

  • We only produce and sell high-quality products.
  • We deliver on our promises.

All people are important

  • We recognise the importance of our people.
  • We believe in teamwork and accountability.
  • We are open and respectful towards everyone.
  • Our staff are assets; our relationships are investments.

We care about the environment

  • We are diligent in reducing our carbon footprint.
  • We strive to reduce all levels of usage and wastage.
  • We are a zero packaging to landfill facility.

What we Do

We have in-house capability and new product lines are continuously developed to stay in tune with market trends and satisfy consumer needs.

Most of our milk is sourced from pasture-fed cows within the Eastern Cape region, the heart of the South African dairy industry. We have dedicated farmers that supply milk according to the highest quality standards. At Woodlands Dairy we believe in making decisions that are not only good for business but good for sustainability. We are engaged with our farmers in rolling out our Woodlands Dairy Sustainability Programme in collaboration with the independent company, Trace and Save, which ensures good management of staff, environment and animals.

Our sophisticated production plant processes top quality products in a hygienic environment. Advanced technology combined with our motivated and skilled staff result in a highly efficient production process.

Our highly motivated team ensures that our products are available at all major retail outlets, wholesalers, foodservice outlets and independent stores in South Africa. We are conveniently situated near the Port Elizabeth harbour which allows for swift export of products to global markets.

At Woodlands Dairy we take great pride in our production process. Our modern facilities are fitted with cutting-edge technology, and our production lines operate at a world-class standard. This serves to ensure that we meet our main objective of manufacturing great products that satisfy the needs of our customers. We strive to achieve the highest quality levels possible, so we aim to create a harmony between production and the people that make it possible – our dedicated employees. By nurturing the necessary skills and knowledge in our personnel, they are able to adapt to the changing demands of the marketplace and keep quality and efficiency at optimum levels. We remain driven by our core values, those being integrity, passion, our customers, the importance of people and the environment. These values embody and are forever ingrained in the Woodlands Dairy work environment. 

Our Shareholders

Gutsche Family Investments (GFI), a family-owned business, is the major shareholder in Woodlands Dairy and owns 75% of the business. Two black-owned partners, namely African Pioneer Group (Pty) and Nozala Investments (Pty) Ltd, jointly hold 25% of the company.

African Pioneer Group (PTY) has investments in Emfuleni Resorts, Betting World, Pioneer Fishing (Pty) Ltd, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, Pioneer Slots, TEWA Power (the first black-owned energy company in South Africa) and various other entities. Their first black shareholders are from Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth and there are approximately 42 black shareholders. Stephen Dondolo, the Chief Executive Officer, is also a director of Woodlands Dairy.

Nozala Investments (PTY) LTD  was established in 1996 as a broad-based women-led and controlled investment company. A separate legal entity, the Nozala Trust was also established to specifically address the development of women entrepreneurs and their economic needs, by supporting business start-ups of its empowerment shareholders and other women groups. The predominant focus of this intervention is targeted at rural and peri-urban areas of South Africa.

Nozala’s philosophy is to support equity investments where there’s scope for strategic operational involvement through value-adding activities.