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Barker’s of Geraldine invests in growth as sales grow

Barker’s of Geraldine invests in growth as sales keep growing, at home and abroad

Beloved Kiwi Company Barker’s of Geraldine has invested significantly in its 44-year-old Geraldine manufacturing site to keep up with demand for its popular jams, chutneys and fruit syrups.

Next month, leading Australian supermarket chain Coles will start stocking four of Barker’s popular fruit syrups and the company is also targeting opportunities in Asia.

Established in 1969, Barker’s has continued to grow and invest steadily through every year of its history, and a further investment of $4 million has been made over the last 18 months in new plant and infrastructure for its plant in Geraldine.

“This investment is primarily to accommodate on-going growth but also represents our drive towards ‘best practice manufacturing’ and environmentally-friendly operations,” says executive director Michael Barker.

An overdue investment was a purpose-built bottling line, installed late last year to replace equipment dating back to 1981 when Barker’s Blackcurrant Syrup was first launched.

“We make such a wide range of preserves and juice products in a variety of different-sized glass and PET jars and bottles, so we needed a very versatile bottling line and we needed to put it together in a creative way,” says Barker. The design process took several years including visits to a trade show and suppliers in Europe before pulling it all together with assistance from a local consultant.

The business has also installed a new multi-fuel boiler and upgraded its waste treatment ponds and wetlands. “We’re in a rural area so we treat all our own wastewater on site.”

The investment in infrastructure is already paying off as Barker’s continues to push into overseas markets, including Australia and Asia.

Barker’s already has significant business across the Tasman, supplying fruit products into foodservice and bakery markets and now the leading Australian supermarket chain Coles is about to stock four of Barker’s popular fruit syrups:
• Squeezed New Zealand Blackcurrants
• Crushed New Zealand Apricot Blush
• Orange & Barley with Passionfruit
• Lemon, Honey & Ginger

“This is terrific news for us,” says Barker. “Coles are one of the two big grocery chains in Australia with about 800 supermarkets located in every main centre in Australia.

“We’re very proud to have our syrups on their shelves and hope these first four will be the start of many more Barkers’ products appearing in Australian pantries.”

Coles will start selling the Barker’s syrups in late September.

The company has also been targeting food service and bakery business in Asia, where New Zealand is seen as a reliable source for innovative, quality assured products. “We have made some good inroads in several Asian markets and hope to have more positive news on that front,” says Barker.

Barker’s of Geraldine’s extensive range of jams, chutneys, condiments and fruit syrups are still made on a corner of the family farm, just 8km outside of the South Canterbury town.

For more information, and to view the full product range, including many wonderful recipes, visit www.barkers.co.nz.

ENDS

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