Food Processing and Food Machinery

An Expert's View about Machinery and Robotics in New Zealand

Last updated: 30 Jun 2011

New Zealand is a global producer of safe, high-quality meat (beef, sheep, and venison), dairy, fruit, vegetables, seafood and wine. New Zealand’s food and beverage industry is a key sector in the economy accounting for approximately one-third of exports and contributing around 5% of GDP. Food processing is New Zealand’s largest industry employer. In 2010, the New Zealand food processing and food machinery market is valued at approximately US$340 million. It is a combination of domestically manufactured products and imports. Innovation helps industry develop new food exports to capture additional value. The market demands high-quality machinery that can improve productivity and efficiency as well as meet stringent food safety standards. Durability and reliability are also key purchasing considerations, as a fast moving production line must be reliable. New Zealand’s demand for food processing and food machinery is ongoing.

U.S. companies specializing in equipment for this sector enjoy a reputation for robust and reliable machinery. Best prospects for U.S. companies include new technologies to increase production efficiencies, automation for post-handling and storage of foods and the redevelopment of businesses disrupted by the Christchurch earthquake on February 22, 2011.
The New Zealand dollar’s improvement over the U.S. dollar is attractive to importers. One NZ$ = US$1.21. One US$ = 82 New Zealand cents. (June 13, 2011)

Market Demand
In 2010, 3000 New Zealand enterprises specialized in food and beverage production. (Source: Statistics New Zealand) These businesses range from small bakeries, through to major factories and breweries. Equipment suppliers operate in a competitive market where end users demand high-quality food processing and food machinery to meet food safety regulations and consumer trends. Besides the importance of hygiene in the manufacturing process, processors want to know how equipment can be cleaned efficiently, what products they must use to clean the equipment and will those products be corrosive to either the equipment or to the surrounding environment.

Ongoing research and development across all sectors drives demand for new investment/technologies. For example, the local avocado industry has recently secured a multi-million dollar export deal with Japan due to new technology that extends the shelf life of avocados without the use of chemicals or other additives. Organics and other key global consumer trends play a big part of R&D. The following 2011 global trends are forecast to have an impact in New Zealand:
• Humane production of meat
• Craft beer
• Healthy snacks
• Gluten-free products

Dairy is New Zealand’s single most important food product. Products in this sector range from milk powders, butter and bulk cheese through to specialty foods such as ice cream artisan cheeses and specialized ingredients e.g. spray-dried milk proteins, protein hydrolysates and free-dried bio-active proteins. New and existing trading partners drive the demand for safe dairy foods.

Meat is New Zealand’s second-largest food export. In April 2011, the most important new investment project in the meat sector (for a number of years) occurred when Silver Fern Farms ( announced plans to build a new multi-million dollar state-of-the art beef-processing plant in Te Aroha. The new facility is planned to incorporate the latest technologies, including sophisticated traceability and yield collection systems. The company’s focus is on improving environmental efficiency while reducing costs through better use of resources and reduction of waste.
On February 22, 2011 an earthquake in Christchurch created devastation to the inner CBD (particularly effecting small café bakeries) and many outlaying factories. Plans to rebuild are underway. In mid-May 2011, Coca Cola Amatil (NZ) announced plans to build a NZ$15 million state of the art beverage production facility.

In late May, 2011 Heinz Australia to relocate its tomato sauce and beetroot canning operations to its sister company Heinz Wattie in New Zealand was well received by the local fruit and vegetable sector. The food manufacturing sector forecasts further relocations as Australian processors struggle with the 2011 Queensland flood devastation and are attracted by New Zealand’s competitive tax rates and lower wage rates.  

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Posted: 30 June 2011, last updated 30 June 2011

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