New Zealand poultry producer Tegel Foods is spreading its wings to export its products to Africa and emerging markets in Asia.
In three years Tegel has doubled its exports to more than $100 million a year. Chief operating officer Phil Hand said Australia was the largest export destination for the company’s products, but they were now moving into Japan, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, and planned to go further afield. A move into African and emerging Asian countries was on the “longer-term horizon” but would take time as Tegel worked through access and food safety issues, Hand acknowledged.
The surge in exports followed the opening of a $20m production line at Tegel’s Henderson plant in 2012, leading to the creation of 500 jobs throughout the country in all areas of the company’s operation. Tegel employs 1700 workers.
“Exports have up until now been a small part of our business but they now make up 22%. Domestic sales make up the balance and are incredibly important, but it’s nice to be diversified. The overseas retail business is more difficult than dealing with quick-serve restaurants,” Hand said.
“New Zealand is unique in the world for its freedom from major poultry diseases, welfare standards are among the best in world through the government imposed code, with lower stocking densities than elsewhere, and our food safety standards are high – for example, we have extraordinarily low levels of salmonella as measured by independent testing regimes,” executive director of the Poultry Industry Association, Michael Brooks said.
Tegel chickens are raised in open-plan barns and are free from growth hormones, immunisations or antibiotics. The company recently won the Supreme Award at the 2014 Air New Zealand Cargo Export NZ Auckland export awards. It also won the BDO Food & Beverage Exporter of the Year category award.