Smartfoods shifts to new factory

  • 21/07/2015
Smartfoods shifts to new factory

Kiwi cereal maker Smartfoods is about to shift into a new factory to treble production as it expands here and in Australia and China on the back of the healthier eating trend.

The Auckland-based company's current St Johns factory is nearing capacity and it is shifting to a 5600 square metre site in Mt Wellington.

The $2.5 million fit out should accommodate growth for at least the next five years as the company, which started in chief executive Justin Hall's kitchen, looks to boost revenue from $15.7M to $50M in that time.

Mr Hall started Smartfoods in the kitchen of his Parnell, Auckland home in 2003 and gained the licence to manufacture Vogel's cereals in New Zealand and China.

In Australia it sells private label cereals to supermarkets and will launch its own branded cereals in the next two months.

After failing to get a foothold in the US in 2011 Mr Hall said the five-year strategy focuses on three markets, New Zealand, Australia, and China, rather than being distracted by other opportunities.

Mr Hall and his wife Vicky Taylor, who has since bought into the company, say Smartfoods is riding the wave of consumer sentiment away from processed to healthy foods with natural ingredients.

Their premium products include gluten-free, lower sugar, and even a cereal for those with irritable bowel syndrome who find digestion difficult.

Smartfoods employs around 50 staff. Exports account for more than a third of revenue.

Until now the innovation has been mainly introducing new types of cereal, but Mr Taylor said the new strategy aims to do less "similar stuff and more different stuff". Mr Hall said the new factory provides a lot more production line flexibility to "zig and zag" based on market trends.