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Hansells thinks big with new innovation centre and Canadian expansion

Hansells thinks big with new innovation centre and Canadian expansion
Food manufacturer Hansells Food Group has been busy notching up a number of firsts, unveiling a new innovation centre in Auckland today and announcing its intention to take on the Canadian market.

John Key

John Key at the opening of Hansells' new facility

Hansells Food Group has been busy notching up a number of firsts, unveiling  a new innovation centre in Auckland today and announcing its intention to take on the Canadian market.

Chief executive John McKay said while New Zealand growth continued to be strong, 60 percent of the business is now export-based.

The company is now poised to make inroads into Canada with assistance from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

“We’re currently establishing a Canadian operation which will introduce existing and new products to the area, while also exploring further sales opportunities other export markets."

The company has more than 600 product lines, ranging from baking ingredients through to spreads and drinks. It currently makes the number one steamed pudding in the UK and globally has the top selling rice bran oil brand.

Among the Hansells stable are brands such as Aunt Betty’s and Vitafresh.

Locally, its new $18 million premises in Penrose include 4,000m2 of warehousing and a blast freezer, a food processing factory and an innovation centre where the company will develop and trial new food products.

McKay said when it comes to delivering on innovation, Hansells now has the onsite ability to do so.

“In particular, we have installed two bakery lines and have continuous ovens set up with the flexibility to meet variable volume demands, with the added capability to turn around new product lines quickly and efficiently," he said.

One of the first product ranges to emerge from its innovation centre is a range of classic tarts and cakes under the Aunt Betty’s brand.

Hansells, which also has manufacturing sites in New Lynn and Masterton and currently employs more than 380 staff, reported an annual turnover of $160 million.

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