Press release: ZIWI
ZIWI LTD, New Zealand’s leading premium pet food exporter and the global leader of air-dried pet nutrition has agreed to purchase Hastings-based Freeze Dried Foods NZ LTD (FDF) and its subsidiary, Kiwigarden LTD, for an undisclosed amount. This investment positions ZIWI to deliver on its mission of “Peak Nutrition Without Compromise.”
FDF was established in 1997 and is the largest freeze-drying operation in the Southern Hemisphere. Employing approximately 140 people, FDF has over 12,000 metric tons of freeze-drying capacity and is continuing to invest in technology to ensure it can keep up with the growth for New Zealand produced freeze-dried products. FDF has long-term third-party manufacturing partnerships with many high-profile New Zealand brands, including subsidiary Kiwigarden which exports premium children’s snacks to Australia, China and North America.
Freeze-drying is a method of drying frozen foods inside a vacuum at extremely low temperatures, so the product remains in its original uncooked state, creating a highly nutritious offering.
Brian Edwards, FDF founder and majority shareholder, says that during discussions it became clear that ZIWI and FDF share similar core values of teamwork, integrity and a relentless customer focus, which are fundamental to any successful business partnership.
From an employee perspective, it will be business as usual for the FDF team, says Edwards.
According to ZIWI managing director Richard Lawrence, the investment in FDF is about delivering sustainable innovative growth for ZIWI and a commitment to ZIWI- owned manufacturing providing peak nutrition without compromise. This can best be achieved with access to FDF’s patented continuous freeze-drying process. This investment builds on ZIWI’s successful brand strategy of owning and investing in processing technology to meet strong global demand for our premium product range, said Lawrence.
ZIWI’s global customers value its use of high-quality, sustainably sourced New Zealand ingredients, which includes many supply partners from the Hawke’s Bay region. Our investment in FDF, alongside commissioning of the Awatoto super kitchen, positions Hawke’s Bay as the key region for our manufacturing operations, added Lawrence.
This is another big step in Hawke’s Bay for ZIWI, who recently commenced production at its new NZ $85 million state-of-the-art production kitchen at Awatoto Napier. The kitchen provides processing capability and technology to support the development of new product lines, which will ensure ZIWI maintains its global leadership position in the premium air-dried pet food category. It is forecast that the kitchen, when at full production by late 2022, will employ 120 people and ship 1,000 containers per annum of high-value pet food through the Port of Napier.