Arnott‘s shift back to NZ could bring new bikkies

Tim Tams makers Arnott's are bringing manufacturing back to New Zealand for the first time in 25 years. Photo: Supplied/ Bilby, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Arnott's say their return to manufacturing in New Zealand will give them an ideal set-up to try out new biscuits on New Zealand markets.

Arnott's are the makers of staples like Tim Tams, Shapes and Farmbake biscuits, and New Zealanders eat 45 million of them each year.

Manufacturing was shifted offshore 25 years ago, but the company has begun a return.

Arnott's New Zealand director Mike Cullerne told First Up that construction has begun on a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility in the west Auckland suburb of Avondale.

"About a year ago we acquired a business called 180 Degrees, which is a New Zealand business ... over the last year we've decided we're going to double down on New Zealand and we'll build a new facility here in West Auckland.

"That facility will be responsible for producing 180 Degrees, but over time we'll also be able to make Arnott's products in this facility."

Cullerne says the move will create dozens of new jobs in production, as well as roles in research and development, quality control and human resources, both at the new plant and at the head office in Newmarket.

"For us we see it as a really big opportunity for us to deliver something different for our manufacturing footprint, we're going to be a lot faster and agile here in this facility.

"A lot of our manufacturing sites in Australia are very good at what they do... but they're large-scale production facilities. So for us being able to build this new facility here is going to allow us to move a lot faster on innovation and what Kiwi consumers want."

The original founders of 180 Degrees have been working with the Arnott's team on new product ideas. And "we'll certainly be looking to perhaps bring back some old favourites".

But the focus will be on steps forward to drive growth, he says; "spaces we don't currently produce".

"Looking at where consumers are going to be, as opposed to where they've been is really really important in terms of how we look at what we're going to manufacture in this site.

"This is a bit more of a flexible site for us, which will allow us to try different things and experiment with different products in the New Zealand market place, which we're really excited about."

Biscuits consumption had gone up during the pandemic, he says.

"Consumers are kind of going two ways, one they're getting more indulgent ... biscuits with a bit more chocolate in them... and then the other way they're thinking about their waistline a bit, and thinking a bit more of healthy alternatives like gluten-free, sugar-free products."

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