July 9, 2018

New Zealand-based premium pet food manufacturer Ziwi has taken top honors as Best Medium to Large Business Exporter at the 2018 Zespri Bay of Plenty ExportNZ Awards.

Now in their 28th year, the Zespri Awards are dedicated to recognizing companies that have helped grow and transform New Zealand’s national and local economies with exceptional export success.

Ziwi’s unique air-dried product offering catapulted the brand into the global marketplace 16 years ago and has since continued a fast-moving upward trajectory. Richard Lawrence, Ziwi managing director, said he was extremely proud to see the company recognized at the 2018 awards.

“Ziwi’s high-quality ingredients and high meat formulation has attracted an enormous following of cats and dogs around the world,” Lawrence said. “The vision to create air-dried, nutrient-packed meals that are free from grains, fillers and artificial additives has given us a real point of difference here and in international markets.

“In recent years with the help of our majority shareholders, the Stewart family, we have consistently invested in our people and plant to set up a strong network of marketing and distribution teams throughout the world,” he continued. “It is wonderful to be recognized for the huge passion and commitment our team has made, especially in the last few years.”

In a move to establish the brand in the United States and Canada, Ziwi opened its first offshore office in the U.S. in 2010. Home to 78 million dogs and recognized globally as the leader in pet nutrition, the United States was a key target market for the brand. Today, the North American market is well developed, and Ziwi says it has a strong following.

Assisting this growth is the humanization of pets, where pet parents are seeking to replicate human food trends like the paleo diet, which focuses on grain-free, low-carbohydrate foods with high meat content—a diet which mimics dogs’ and cats’ ancestral whole-prey diet. Ziwi’s Air-Dried product line is completely in alignment with this diet model.

Ziwi’s export markets expanded in to Asia, Europe and Australia and the brand is now distributed in over 20 countries.

“With increasing pet ownership and a growing awareness of pet nutrition, consumers are demanding quality, nutritious meals for their pets and this has resulted in massive growth for Ziwi and the New Zealand pet food industry as a whole,” Lawrence said.

Along with a recent expansion into the Christchurch area on the South Island, Ziwi has partnered with ANZCO Foods to form a new joint venture operation producing pet treats and chews.

The judges of the Best Medium to Large Business Exporter of the Year Award said Ziwi is an impressive business in terms of business strategy, its focus on staff well-being, and the general ethos inducted by management.

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