NEW ZEALAND— ZIWI LTD, a New Zealand based manufacturer of air-dried pet food, acquired Hastings-based Freeze-Dried Foods NZ LTD (FDF) and its subsidiary Kiwigarden LTD for an undisclosed amount, a move that ZIWI company officials said positions the company to deliver on its mission of “peak nutrition without compromise”.

Freeze-drying is a method of drying frozen foods inside a vacuum at extremely low temperatures, so the product remains in its original uncooked state, creating a highly nutritious offering.

FDF was established in 1997 and is the largest freeze-drying operation in the Southern Hemisphere. Employing approximately 140 people, FDF has more than 12,000 metric tons of freeze-drying capacity and is continuing to invest in technology to ensure it can keep up with the growth for New Zealand produced freeze-dried products, officials said.

FDF has long-term third-party manufacturing partnerships with many high-profile New Zealand brands, including subsidiary Kiwigarden which exports premium children’s snacks to Australia, China and North America.

ZIWI managing director Richard Lawrence says the investment in FDF is about delivering sustainable innovative growth for ZIWI, and its commitment to ZIWI-owned manufacturing providing peak nutrition without compromise.

The investment in FDF is about delivering sustainable innovative growth for ZIWI, and its commitment to ZIWI-owned manufacturing providing peak nutrition without compromise

Richard Lawrence, ZIWI Managing Director

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This can best be achieved with access to FDF’s patented continuous freeze-drying process. This investment builds on ZIWI’s successful brand strategy of owning and investing in processing technology to meet strong global demand for its premium product range, said Lawrence.

ZIWI sustainably sources its ingredients in New Zealand, including from several suppliers in the Hawke’s Bay region, where FDF and Kiwigarden are located. This is another big step in Hawke’s Bay for ZIWI, who recently commenced production at its new state-of-the-art production kitchen at Awatoto Napier.

The kitchen provides processing capability and technology to support the development of new product lines, which will ensure ZIWI maintains its global leadership position in the premium air-dried pet food category, officials said.

ZIWI estimates the plant will be running at full production by late 2022. Once fully operational, the facility will employ 120 people and ship approximately 1,000 containers per year through the Port of Napier.

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