Southland oat milk producer gets $6m boost from Regional Strategic Partnership Fund

Southland-based oat milk producer New Zealand Functional Foods is getting new Government backing, with a $6 million investment from the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund (RSPF).

Announcing this today, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said the fund was set up to help build more productive, resilient, and sustainable regional economies.

The investment in New Zealand Functional Foods, to develop a plant-based beverage manufacturing facility, aligned “brilliantly” with this vision, Mr Nash said.

“Plant-based milk alternatives are a fast-growing segment of domestic and international consumer markets, with the amount spent by Kiwis on plant-based milks almost tripling from $52 million in 2017 to $144 million in 2019 – so the demand is definitely there.

“We know that oats grow well in Southland, and being low in water use, land use and emissions, they are an excellent raw ingredient for an environmentally sustainable alternative-milk option. Producing oat milk locally is a lucrative way to diversify our strength as a quality food producer.

“As it stands, we just don’t have the appropriate processing facilities to domestically produce the volumes of oat milk required to make a splash in this burgeoning market. Our investment will help provide the capital needed by New Zealand Functional Foods to build a specialised, large-scale processing plant at Makarewa, with capacity for producing up to 80 million litres of plant-based milk a year.”

The investment is part of a wider Government strategy to develop a low-emissions, highly-skilled economy that responds to global demands.

Mr Nash said he was confident the new facility would add to the reputation of Southland and New Zealand as a real player in the sustainable food and beverage sector.

New Zealand Functional Foods is owned by Great South, the regional development agency for Southland, and K1W1, the investment vehicle of Sir Stephen Tindall.

Based in Makarewa, the company aims to take a leading role in the oat milk industry in New Zealand, initially producing oat milk for individual New Zealand brands, as well as leading research in further developing this market.

Source:  Minister of Economic and Regional Development



Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog