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Ice-cream tip-top in Hauraki

Ice-cream tip-top in Hauraki

May 12, 2014

Chinese interests have bought an abandoned dairy plant in the Hauraki district and will turn the site into an export-standard ice-cream factory.

Hauraki Mayor John Tregidga says the NZ$10 million investment from Allied Faxi Food Co Ltd looks set to kick-start a regional food processing hub his council has been working on for 12 months.

Allied Faxi Food Co purchased the old factory at Kerepehi in March this year from the Tanner Group. The company will build a new milk processing plant on the site, producing premium ice cream for export to China. The new factory will create 40-50 new full-time jobs and will use locally-sourced milk.

Mr Tregidga confirmed the Kerepehi site had all its resource consents in place and was “ready to go”. The council would now look at upgrading the waste water treatment plant at Kerepehi, confident the new factory will be the first of many food processing business heading its way.

“We’ve got an economic programme here called ‘rolling out the red carpet, not the red tape’ and it’s working,” Tregidga said.

“Part of that programme has been working with the EMA (Employers and Manufacturers Association) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to focus on food manufacturing industries. This is the first big run on the board – I couldn’t be happier.”

Allied Faxi’s production manager Arthur Yan, who will be based on the site, said the factory will produce 10 tonnes of frozen cream and 5-10 tonnes of ice-cream each day, all destined for the Chinese domestic market. Most staff on site would be locals, he said.

Construction work on the new $10 million factory was due to begin late this year and the first ice-cream would be produced by 2015. Allied Faxi Food Co was established in 1994 and already supplies ice-cream products around the world including to major brands like Starbucks, Dairy Queen, KFC and Pizza Hut in China.

Mr Tregidga said Hauraki District Council began talking with the company in July 2013 and had worked hard to “reel them in”.

“They were considering three sites at the time and we had to convince them to come here. Our economic development manager David Fielden worked alongside them from day one and has done an outstanding job,” he said.

The Hauraki district had some “natural advantages” in terms of food manufacturing.

“It’s a very good location, close enough to Auckland and Tauranga but far enough away to have lower operating expenses. Plus we a skilled workforce on-tap with proven food processing experience. That’s pretty valuable for a start-up milk processing operation.”

Mr Tregidga said his council would continue working alongside the company during the factory construction and start-up phase.

“There’s a role for us in helping them to secure staff, manage logistics and make some key introductions,” he said.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise had already appointed a case manager to the development and was working with the council.

ENDS

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