New Zealand’s Riverland Foods Ltd. (Riverland) marked a significant achievement on March 19th with the grand opening of its cutting-edge pet food processing facility in Christchurch. Valued at $21 million, this state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to producing premium wet diets, boasting an impressive annual production capacity of 30 million cans.

Michael Dance, Riverland’s General Manager, expressed his excitement about the occasion, stating, “Today is a momentous occasion as we unveil our factory and solidify our inaugural contracts to manufacture pet food for international brands.”

The company’s first partnerships include United Laboratories International Holdings Ltd from China and Talentail from Australia. United Laboratories, a publicly traded company on the Hong Kong stock exchange, aims to leverage Riverland’s advanced capabilities to develop a new line of cat foods. Meanwhile, Talentail, an established dry pet food brand, seeks to diversify its product offerings with wet formulations.

“We’re thrilled to embark on collaborations with these esteemed companies and look forward to establishing long-term relationships with them, as well as engaging with additional clients in the coming weeks,” remarked Dance.

Riverland is actively pursuing partnerships with clients across Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, North America, and Singapore, according to Dance. The company has obtained all necessary regulatory approvals for exports to these markets, with approval for Mainland China expected soon.

The surge in New Zealand’s pet food exports, rising from $45 million in 2014 to $195 million in 2023, highlights the country’s emergence as a key player in pet food manufacturing. Riverland’s new facility is poised to strengthen New Zealand’s position in the global pet food industry while cementing its role as a key driver of export growth.

New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Agriculture, Todd McClay, commended Riverland’s significant economic contribution and its role in enhancing the global pet food industry during the facility’s grand opening ceremony.

Strategically located in Christchurch, the facility takes advantage of its proximity to transportation networks and access to high-quality raw materials. Riverland emphasizes the region’s abundant supply of meat, fish, shellfish, and fruit ingredients, sourced primarily from pasture-raised livestock—a critical aspect for Riverland’s clientele.

Looking ahead, Riverland is focused on serving its initial clients while actively engaging with potential partners through industry tradeshows.

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