Mount Maunganui based premium petfood manufacturer, Ziwi, has taken top honours at the 2018 Zespri BOP ExportNZ Awards.
The company scooped the title of Best Medium to Large Business Exporter at the awards on Friday night, which, in their 28th year, are dedicated to recognising the companies that have helped grow and transform New Zealand and local economies with exceptional export success.
Ziwi's unique air dried product offering catapulted the brand into the global marketplace 16 years ago and has since continued a fast moving upward trajectory.
Richard Lawrence, Ziwi Managing Director says he was extremely proud to see the company recognised at the 2018 awards.
“Ziwi’s high quality ingredients and high meat formulation has attracted an enormous following of cats and dogs around the world.
“The vision to create air dried, nutrient-packed meals that are free from grains, fillers and artificial additives has given us a real point of difference here and in international markets.
“In recent years with the help of our majority shareholders, the Stewart family, we have consistently invested in our people and plant to set up a strong network of marketing and distribution teams throughout the world.
“It is wonderful to be recognised for the huge passion and commitment our team has made, especially in the last few years.”
In a move to establish the brand in the United States and Canada, Ziwi opened its first offshore office in the US in 2010.
Home to 78 million dogs and recognised globally as the leader in pet nutrition, the United States was a key target market for the brand.
Today the market is well developed and Ziwi has grown a strong following, especially as an increasing number of pet owners look to premium brands that give the best nutritional value to their pet.
Also assisting this growth is the humanisation of pets where pet parents are seeking to replicate human food trends like the paleo diet, which focuses on grain free and high meat content.
Ziwi’s export markets expanded in to Asia, Europe and Australia and the brand is now distributed in over 20 countries.
Mainland China is the most recent addition to Ziwi’s territories and has rapidly become a major market in less than 24 months.
Much of this growth in China is led by cat food but with increasing dog ownership, the China market is set to continue to develop.
“With increasing pet ownership and a growing awareness of pet nutrition, consumers are demanding quality, nutritious meals for their pets and this has resulted in massive growth for Ziwi and the New Zealand petfood industry as a whole,” says Richard.
Along with a recent expansion into the South Island, Ziwi has partnered with ANZCO Foods to form a new joint venture operation producing pet treats and oral health products.
The New Zealand Natural Chews and Treats Company will also operate out of the new Christchurch site to produce a range of natural, premium products for export markets.
The judges of the Sharp Tudhope Lawyers Best Medium to Large Business Exporter of the Year Award said Ziwi is a very impressive business in terms of business strategy, its focus on staff wellbeing, and the general ethos inducted by management.
“Ziwi has undergone significant growth in the last couple of years and is well positioned for future growth.”