A multi-million dollar investment in manufacturing capability is paying off for New Zealand’s New Image Group. The natural health products company has invested more than $10 million in new technology and plant to enable it to efficiently deliver world class, high-value dairy products in to Asian markets.

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser today opened New Image’s third production plant in Auckland. The plant includes a new, automated can making operation that makes 200 cans a minute. It also has a form and fill packaging line, tableting and capsulating equipment, sachet packing lines and a state-of the art high pressure plant (HPP).

The new HPP technology is used to manufacture a new health drink called Col + colstrum. Instead of high temperature pasteurising, the dairy-based beverage is produced using high pressure to preserve the activity of heat sensitive bioactives. Col + is a fruit flavoured dairy “shot” to support the body’s immune system that can be easily put in to lunchboxes – or handbags.

New Image executive chairman Graeme Clegg says the halal and 99.9% fat free drink is quickly finding favour in China, Taiwan and in South East Asia. It is also being introduced to the New Zealand market, through selected Asian supermarkets first.

“We have spent time test marketing and fine-tuning Col+ in Asia. We have developed new flavours, reshaped the bottle and added a re-sealable screw cap. The response from consumers is driving a strong forward order book,” Mr Clegg says. “The shelf longevity of the product, combined with the fact that it does not have to be refrigerated, gives us an edge over our competitors in Asian markets.”

Mr Clegg says the new plant at Penrose means the company will not only be able to manufacture more of the components for its own products, but also be more flexible in terms of lead times for orders from its contract manufacture customers. As well as the Penrose site, New Image has a new, high quality nutritionals and infant formula, spray dry milk powder plant south of Auckland, a food grade manufacturing and packaging plant at Avondale and its headquarters and warehouse in Mangere.

The 28-year-old company has long established relationships in Asia through its direct selling business and contract manufacturing and it has won several New Zealand trade and export awards. More recently it has also been developing traditional wholesale-retail channels with branded products, especially colostrums blends, nutraceuticals and infant formula into China.

In newer markets, like China, New Image has been working with NZTE to gain market entry.

“NZTE’s assistance has been very helpful,” Mr Clegg says. “The market assistance, combined with the thinking that NZTE’s Better by Design team stimulates, means we have been able to implement a strategy that is delivering results.”

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