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Justin Riley Appointed As Chief Executive For NZ Functional Foods Ltd

The Board of New Zealand Functional Foods Ltd is delighted to announce the appointment of Justin Riley as Chief Executive.

This appointment is a significant win for NZ Functional Foods and for Southland.

Originally from Invercargill, Justin has had a distinguished and successful career, including 18 years with Barker’s of Geraldine in several senior roles, including CEO.

“Justin is a highly experienced executive with a strong background in the food industry”, says Board Chair Roger Carruthers.

“I’m incredibly proud to be returning to Southland, a province which has given me so much, says Riley.

“Working with the New Zealand Functional Food Board and Southland’s oat growers to harness the region’s productive soils and to lead New Zealand forward in this innovative category is great for Southland, great for consumers and great for New Zealand,” he said.

Justin was chosen through a competitive selection process from a strong field of candidates, both locally and internationally.

He is passionate about New Zealand’s food and primary industries where growers and processors work together to create foods that are both kind to the environment and good for people.

“Alternative milks and especially oat milk has moved quickly from being a niche food and is gaining enormous global traction amongst those who are consciously prioritising sustainability in their food choices”, says Riley.

New Zealand Functional Foods plans to be open for business in 2022.

Based in Makarewa, Southland, the company aims to take a leading role in the oat milk industry in New Zealand, initially producing oat milk for individual New Zealand brands, as well as leading research in further developing this rapidly growing market space.

“We have been in discussion with current and planned oat milk brands in New Zealand for some time, giving us confidence to plan for initial factory capacity of 40 million litres per annum,” says Carruthers.

“It is very important to us to be leading the shift in industry toward carbon neutral manufacturing practices and is central to our planning and development. We are also in discussions with New Zealand research institutes and government to develop New Zealand’s expertise in this burgeoning industry”, says Carruthers.

“We really want to develop the New Zealand provenance story around Oat Milk. Supporting farmers to employ sustainable farming practices is key to that story”, says Carruthers.

The current shareholders are Great South (the Southland Regional Development Agency) and K1W1, Sir Stephen Tindall’s investment company and new shareholders will be coming into the company to fund the development.

“We have had strong interest from highly qualified investors and we are looking forward to taking those conversations to the next level in the coming weeks. Justin’s appointment is a key milestone in that work programme”, says Carruthers.

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