Dr Amy Sevao, chief executive of Asian food manufacturer Old Country Food. Photo / Provided
Asian food maker Kiwi Old Country Food is preparing to start exporting for the first time, with its first orders due to be shipped across Tasmania.
The Auckland-based company that has gone through a
The rebranding when the Tsai family took over the business in 2020 has in recent years focused on expanding nationally and increasing the number of supermarkets it is stocked at.
Export to Australia has been in the works for some time for the maker of dumplings, steamed buns and bao, but its plans had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He expects it to ship to Australia by the middle of next year, then later direct to the Pacific Islands.
Old Country Food chief executive Dr Amy Sevao said he was set to supply supermarkets and set up food service accounts there.
In 2016, the Henderson Company launched its catering arm and over the past five years has strived to expand its dealerships from Asian-only supermarkets to large supermarkets. It is currently supplied by Foodstuffs North Island. Over the past year, it has increased its national distribution by 40 percent.
“I still believe there is a lot of potential for growth in the domestic market. The Australian opportunity is also very important.
“We haven’t run out of inquiries, but we’re just working on the logistics,” Sevao said. “We’ve always had great interest from Australia and the Pacific Islands.”
Old Country Food recently teamed up with TV chef Rewi Spraggon, host of the Māori Kai TV show and founder of Hangi Master, to create hangi steamed bread.
Spraggon operates New Zealand’s only MPI-approved hangi from its West Auckland facility.
The partnership is designed to further increase grocery sales by introducing the flavors of traditional Maori cooking techniques to urban consumers who otherwise could not access food prepared in a hangi.
“We know that for many people in Aotearoa, as well as manuhiri – those new to the country – the opportunity to experience the versatility of ancient Maori food preparation methods is not always easy,” Spraggon said. .
“What we have developed through our collaboration is an easy-to-access, easy-to-consume, portable food format – one that offers many the opportunity to try traditional hāngi flavors for the first time.”
Old Country Food makes 20 million dumplings and 2.1 million steamed buns each year. It was founded over 30 years ago by immigrants from Hong Kong. It has changed hands several times since and today employs 26 people.
Sevao said the company has faced minimal disruption thanks to Covid and the supply chain crisis as it sources local ingredients for its products.
At the height of the pandemic, when most businesses were struggling with declining sales, Old Country Food was able to boost sales significantly by increasing its supply to supermarkets and opening a direct-to-consumer channel.
It has grown its revenue by 20% per year since 2020 and has grown from $600,000 to over $5 million over the past six years.
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