Processed Vegetables

Process Veg

Who we are

Process Vegetables NZ (PVNZ) is an affiliated Product Group to Horticulture NZ and represents 350 commercial process vegetable growers on issues specifically crop related.

PVNZ is financially supported by a commodity levy rate of 42 cents per $100 of the sales value at the processor. Key areas of activity specifically on behalf of process vegetable growers:

  • Research & Development to increase yields and improved management of pests, viruses and diseases
  • Vegetable Research & Innovation Board - PVNZ is a co-funder and has a Director on the V   R & I Board
  • EPA Agrichemical reassessments to ensure crop quality and sustainability 
  • RMA and regional compliance to reduce commercial grower costs
  • GIA (Bio-security) negotiations to ensure commercial growers do not bear all of the cost of an incursion
  • MPI / Biosecurity negotiations and support to ensure continuity of vegetable crop supply
  • NZ GAP supporters and PVNZ is also a co-funder 

PVNZ and the grower members have a close relationship with New Zealand's key food processing companies: Watties, McCains, JP-NZ, Cedenco, Leaderbrand and Talley's who collectively provide funding and resources for crop research projects and crop management programs.

Industry Profile

The key growing regions are Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Canterbury with Process Vegetables NZ representing the commercial growers of: Carrots, Sweet corn, Peas, Beans and Beetroot. (Potatoes are separately represented by Potatoes NZ Inc). Other minor process crops include Kumara (sweet potato), Cauliflower and Broccoli.

The farm gate value of the total process vegetable industry including potatoes exceeds $375 million and production figures for the principal process crops are:

  • Carrots 88,000 tonnes
  • Sweet corn 77,000 tonnes
  • Peas 58,500 tonnes
  • Beans 17,500 tonnes
  • Beetroot 22,000 tonnes
  • Potatoes 262,500 tonnes

Processing Companies

There are six principal processing companies: Wattie's Australasia Ltd, McCain Foods (New Zealand) Ltd, Talley Frozen Foods Ltd, Cedenco Foods Ltd, Leaderbrand Ltd and Juice Products New Zealand Ltd. There are approximately seven or eight other minor vegetable processors and about the same number of potato processors.  Some of the smaller processors are particularly efficient and effective, particularly in process potato products and asparagus.

With factories in both the North and South islands of New Zealand, Wattie’s Australasia Ltd has been supplying New Zealanders and now Australians with fresh, frozen, dehydrated and canned foods. While the company was founded in New Zealand by Sir James Wattie it has since expanded and merged with other companies helping them to supply their products to countries around the globe. In 2014 the company was purchase by 3G a private equity firm based in Brazil.  

Since being established in New Zealand in the late 1980’s McCain foods (New Zealand) Ltd has grown to be a significant player in many different food and retail markets. Today McCain Foods is a huge global company with more than 20,000 people employed in six different continents. In New Zealand they have processing plants in both Hastings and Timaru. The Timaru factory processes a wide variety of vegetables and potatoes whilst the Hastings plant primarily focuses on vegetables. 

One hundred percent new Zealand owned and processing only new Zealand grown produce Talley Frozen Foods Ltd was originally a seafood company that was founded in 1936; it wasn’t until 1978 that they began processing vegetables in a factory out of Motueka. They now work closely with many independent growers who grow all their vegetables in the South Island of New Zealand. Their products are then processed at their current plants in Ashburton and Blenheim, a majority of which are exported around the world, primarily to Australia and Asia. 

Cedenco Foods Ltd is based in Gisborne where it has been since it was established in 1986. They manufacture many different fruit and vegetables, most of which are primarily sourced from locally grown produce and play a crucial role in supporting the region’s economy.  

Leaderbrand Ltd grows, harvests, packs and delivers a wide range of vegetables daily. With farms based in Gisborne and Canterbury they pride themselves on the freshness and quality of their products which are ever-changing in order to meet and supply customer demand. They value highly the relationship they have with partners and customers both domestic and international. 

Juice Products New Zealand Limited (JPL) operates out of Timaru in the South Island of New Zealand and is New Zealand’s leading processor of vegetable and fruit juice concentrates for local and international industries. It is a New Zealand owned company which prides itself on being the largest carrot juice concentrate processor in Australasia and exporting 95% of the carrot juice product around the world primarily to Japan but also to the USA and Australasia. Also supplementing their carrot concentrate product is a range of other concentrates including blackcurrant, grape and fruit blends along with a variety of fruit and vegetable purees. 

Process Peas & Beans

The production of peas and beans in New Zealand has a long history, closely associated with the development of the process vegetable industry. Frozen peas now represent New Zealand's third largest vegetable export with over 35,000 tonnes being exported earning more than FOB $84 million. This excludes peas and beans exported as a component of frozen mixed vegetables. There are also significant volumes of dehydrated peas exported and a small volume of canned peas. Process peas and beans are exported to about 40 different countries, the major markets being Australia, Japan, United Kingdom and Taiwan. In the past eight years the FOB value of process pea exports has increased by over 40%. Beans add a further 18,000 tonnes of domestic and export production.

New Zealand markets peas internationally and production and processing costs in New Zealand are internationally competitive. R&D activity is focused on improved pest and disease management, the development of IPM/reduction in agri-chemical use and new and improved cultivars.

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn production in New Zealand is a large and established industry which has seen an expansion in the volume of sweet corn grown for freezing in recent years. Production levels are however, heavily dependent on export markets. There are a variety of uses for the product but over 75% of the crop is frozen both in cob and kernel form. While New Zealand markets its frozen sweet corn internationally to over 30 countries, the major export markets are Japan and Australia. It is the fourth largest vegetable export in excess of 25,000 tonnes exported earning about $50M. About 6,000 tonnes are converted into corn powder mainly for export.

Carrots

Carrots are one of New Zealand's fastest growing vegetable exports and apart from fresh include frozen, dehydrated product and juice concentrate. The main export market is Japan. This crop has expanded in an daround South Canterbury to now process 60,000 tonnes annually.

Beetroot

The introduction of growing the beetroot for processing has been a recent development due to the closure of beetroot processing plants and production in Australia and being transferred to New Zealand. Beetroot is grown by a small group of large growers in the Hawke’s Bay who produce over 22,000 tonnes for Watties NZ

Summary

As producers, New Zealand's process vegetable and potato growers are among the most efficient in the world at producing low cost vegetables of high quality. However, many of these growers question the returns they are achieving for what they produce. There has been major restructuring within the processing industry in recent times and the hope is that this will lead to more efficiencies within the processing companies and better returns for growers. 

Contacts

If you have questions about the Processed Vegetables NZ industry please contact:

John Seymour 
General Manager
Horticulture New Zealand
Level 4, Co-operative Bank House
20 Ballance Street
Wellington

Ph 04 494 9973
Fax 04 471 2861
Mobile 027 543 7531
Email john.seymour@hortnz.co.nz