Former Prime Minister John Key has cut the ribbon to a new $50 million upgrade at the NIG Nutritionals milk powder plant in Paerata.
The former prime minister, shareholders and clients, were all given a tour with of the new 'state of the art' facility on Tuesday which will deliver product to four major partners in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. The plant will also deliver in smaller volumes to India, Sri Lanka, Africa, the Middle East and some New Zealand companies.
New Image Group, the parent company of NIG Nutritionals made a push into the dairy goat infant formula industry in 2015 by forming a supply partnership with local farmers.
"The source of our goat milk is from farms only 15 minutes from the plant, meaning full integration with the farm, collection, spray dryer and packaging plant," says Graeme Clegg, founder and chairman of New Image Group.
The New Zealand based company was formed 35 years ago and has become New Zealand's biggest natural health product and nutritionals provider.
"We started building our Paerata plant in 2013 with a dryer and smaller specialised packaging plant. Then in 2016, we began a full upgrade with a larger dryer and then a large-scale canning and retail pouch facility," Clegg said.
He said the company has respectfully developed a trade relationship with China over the last 10 years, which has placed them as one of the top five imported goat milk formula brands into a country with a population of nearly 1.5 billion.
"NIG Nutritionals was one of the early entrants into China's goat milk infant formula market and it's Baby Steps brand is in the Top Five imported goat milk formula brands in China, accounting for around six per cent of all imported goat milk formula."
Local college, Wesley College Kapa Haka group welcome guests to the event
Clegg said an estimated 75 million servings of NIG products are consumed annually just in China alone. Additionally worldwide an estimated 550,000 direct selling customers a day either use a new Image beauty product or nutritional supplement each day.
The plant is also an internationally recognised pioneer of the colostrum industry selling in 15 countries, with a consolidated revenue of more than $300 million in the past financial year.
He says production at the plant Paerata will move into operation 24 hours, day and night and employ another 80 people.