New Zealand food manufacturer Hansells Food Group today unveiled its state-of-the-art innovation centre and bakery line in Auckland, while at the same time announcing that it is poised to make inroads into the Canadian market.
Prime Minister John Key was on hand to officially open the new $18 million premises and tour the facility which is located in Penrose.
The building comprises 4,000m2 of warehousing and a blast freezer, a 5000m2 food processing factory and a 1,000m2 office and innovation centre where the company will develop and trial new food products.
Hansells Food Group Chief Executive Officer, John McKay, said the iconic Kiwi company had been quietly notching up a number of firsts both locally and offshore to the point where the business now has an annual turnover of $160 million.
“Whilst we are continuing to grow strongly in New Zealand, 60 per cent of our business is now export-based and we are currently expanding into the Canadian market with the assistance and support of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
The company has a portfolio of over 600 product lines from baking ingredients through to spreads and drinks. It currently makes the number one steamed pudding in the UK, and globally has the top selling Rice Bran Oil brand. It has a strong stable of well known brands including: Alfa One, Aunt Betty’s, Hansells and Vitafresh.
John said further expansion into offshore markets and innovation would be the key growth drivers for the company.
“We’re currently establishing a Canadian operation which will introduce existing and new products to the area, while also exploring further sales opportunities other export markets.
“Locally, we have a team of highly skilled food technologists to staff the innovation centre, with the focus being on developing high quality, great tasting new products.”
John said when it comes to delivering on innovation, the company now has the onsite facilities to do so.
“In particular, we have installed two bakery lines and have continuous ovens set up with the flexibility to meet variable volume demands with the added capability to turnaround new product lines quickly and efficiently.
John said one of the first product ranges to come out of the company’s innovation centre and new bakery is a range of classic tarts and cakes under the Aunt Betty’s brand.
The company has also become one of the first FMCG businesses in the world to adopt the Learn First Product Development system. The system is expected to help Hansells gain a clearer understanding of consumer needs and the organisation’s product development and production capabilities to ensure success in its product development efforts.
The company which also has manufacturing sites in New Lynn and Masterton currently employs over 380 staff. An additional 30 new jobs were created at the new Penrose site.