CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND — New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd. (Riverland) announced March 19 it has officially opened its premium pet food processing facility in Christchurch. Dedicated to co-manufacturing wet diets, the $21 million facility holds the capacity to produce 30 million cans per year.

“Today is a double celebration, as we are opening our factory and we’re signing our first two contracts to make pet food for overseas brands,” said Michael Dance, general manager at Riverland.

These two partners include China-based United Laboratories International Holdings Ltd and Australia-based Talentail. United Laboratories is a publicly traded company on the Hong Kong stock exchange looking to leverage Riverland’s new capabilities to develop and produce a functional line of cat foods. Talentail is a dry pet food brand looking to diversify its portfolio through the addition of wet formulations.

New Zealand Riverland Foods signs first two co-man partnerships

Tom Coughlan (left), operations manager at Riverland, signs a contract with Tsoi Hoi Shan, chair of United Laboratories. 

| Source: New Zealand Riverland Foods Ltd

“We’re thrilled to be able to start a partnership with two well respected companies and we look forward to a continued relationship with them and agreeing terms with further clients in a few weeks,” Dance added.

Riverland is “open for business” and currently seeking additional partnerships with clients in Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, North America and Singapore, according to Dance. The company has collected all relevant regulatory approvals to export to these markets, with the exception of Mainland China, which is expected to be approved soon.

According to Riverland, New Zealand pet food exports have quadrupled over the last decade, from $45 million in 2014 to $195 million in 2023. This new facility is expected to put New Zealand on the map as a prime location for pet food manufacturing, as well as solidify Riverland as a key partner supporting export growth.

“This state-of-the-art facility — an important new addition to the Christchurch business landscape — will no doubt have a significant economic impact going forward as a global player in our growing pet food industry, helping to bring New Zealand’s high-quality, sustainable, and nutritious pet products to the world,” said Todd McClay, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Agriculture, at the grand opening ceremony for the plant.

The facility, which was first announced in January, was intentionally established in Christchurch due to its close proximity to rail and sea transportation, as well as to high-quality raw materials. According to Riverland, the region is teeming with raw material suppliers of meat, fish and shellfish, and fruit ingredients. Most livestock in the area are also raised in pastures, which is becoming increasingly important to Riverland’s customers, Dance added.

Looking ahead, the company will remain busy with its first two customers and attend industry tradeshows to connect with new potential clients.

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