CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND — New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd is setting up shop in Canterbury to offer exclusive co-manufacturing capabilities for international clients in the canned pet food space. The company — led by Michael Dance and Tom Coughlan, former general managers at another New Zealand-based pet food manufacturer, ZIWI — announced Jan. 24 plans to establish an “ultra-modern” facility with the capacity to produce 30 million pet food cans annually.

The company will invest $20 million in the facility to start, and anticipates further investment as the plant develops. Plans for the facility began in 2022, and the plant is expected to open in February. The company noted it is already conducting conversations with brands in North America, Asia and Australia to manufacture their products.

According to New Zealand Riverland Foods, the company is open to working with local dog and cat food brands, which are currently competing in a $500 million market there. However, the New Zealand market is “dwarfed” by global demand, which is currently estimated at a value of $104 billion and expected to reach $163 billion by 2030, according to research cited by the company.

New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd leaders Michael Dance and Tom Coughlan

Michael Dance (left), general manager, and Tom Coughlan, head of operations, at New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd.

| Source: New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd

“There is huge demand for access to modern manufacturing facilities which are both adaptable and innovative,” said Dance, general manager of New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd. “… We want to play an essential part in the health and longevity of pets and help put New Zealand firmly on the world pet food map.”

New Zealand is home to several pet food plants, but most are on the smaller side and tend to favor their own branded products, according to New Zealand Riverland Foods. In establishing a facility dedicated to co-manufacturing for smaller brands, the company hopes to establish the country as “a go-to destination for third-party manufacturing” on the global stage.

“Not producing our own brand gives us a real point of difference,” Dance added. “All customers are treated equally. It also provides us with flexibility to meet the changing market demands such as different product textures and formulations.”

Capabilities at the Canterbury facility will include several pet food textures, including mousses, pates and chunks-in-gravy styles that are particularly appealing to the finicky palates of felines, Dance shared.

According to Coughlan, head of operations at New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd, he and Dance selected Hornby, which sits on the west side of Christchurch, as the location for the new facility due to its “proximity to processing plants and quality raw materials.”

Read more about pet food and treat processing on our Operations page.