NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd. (Riverland) marked a significant milestone on March 19 with the official inauguration of its state-of-the-art pet food processing facility in Christchurch. 

This US$21 million facility, dedicated to co-manufacturing wet diets, boasts a capacity to produce a staggering 30 million cans of pet food annually.

In an event graced by key figures including Michael Dance, Riverland’s general manager, the occasion was doubly celebrated as the company also announced the signing of its first two co-manufacturing contracts with esteemed partners, United Laboratories International Holdings Ltd from China and Talentail from Australia.

United Laboratories, a publicly traded entity on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, aims to leverage Riverland’s advanced capabilities to develop and manufacture a functional line of cat foods. 

Meanwhile, Talentail, an established dry pet food brand, seeks to diversify its offerings by incorporating wet formulations into its product line.

Expressing excitement about these partnerships, Dance remarked, “We’re thrilled to start a partnership with two well-respected companies and look forward to continued collaboration with them while exploring opportunities with additional clients in the coming weeks.

Riverland is now actively seeking further partnerships with clients across Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, North America, and Singapore. 

With regulatory approvals already secured for exports to these markets, except for Mainland China, Riverland anticipates approval in China soon.

The unveiling of this facility comes amidst a significant uptick in New Zealand’s pet food exports, which have quadrupled over the past decade, reaching US$195 million in 2023 from US$45 million in 2014. 

Riverland’s new facility is poised to position New Zealand as a prominent hub for pet food manufacturing while solidifying the company’s role as a key supporter of export growth.

At the grand opening ceremony, Todd McClay, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Agriculture, hailed the facility as an essential addition to Christchurch’s business landscape. 

He emphasized its potential to bolster the country’s pet food industry by showcasing high-quality, sustainable, and nutritious pet products globally.

Christchurch was chosen as the location for the facility due to its strategic proximity to rail and sea transportation networks, as well as access to premium raw materials. 

Riverland notes that the region is abundant in suppliers of meat, fish, shellfish, and fruit ingredients, with most livestock raised in pastures, a crucial factor in meeting customer demands for sustainability.

Looking ahead, Riverland anticipates a busy period with its inaugural clients while also actively engaging with potential partners at industry tradeshows to further expand its clientele and solidify its position in the global pet food market.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.