Wattie’s Opens Pet Food Factory Amid Global Shortage

As the world continues to face global pet food shortages, Wattie’s has completed a multi-million-dollar upgrade of its Hastings pet food manufacturing site.

The pet food manufacturing facility in Tomoana produces cat food brands Chef, Gourmet and Champ as well as a range of pet food products for export with the focus of the upgrade being an investment in a new canning retort capability designed to increase reliability and productivity.

Pet owners have faced a global pet food shortage over the last year due to production and shipping issues as well as increased demand. A spokeswoman for Countdown said the supermarket chain was still experiencing ups and downs with the supply of some brands, but more volume was starting to flow through.

Neil Heffer, managing director of Heinz Wattie's

Neil Heffer​, managing director of Heinz Wattie's, said the Tomoana facility upgrade reflected a commitment to champion New Zealand-made products and the benefits this brought to the local economy, as well as rising numbers of pet ownership.

According to a report from the New Zealand Pet food Manufacturers Association, 64 per cent of households own at least one pet, with a total pet population of 4.35 million.

“Pet ownership is more relevant than ever before, and we see the growing role of companion animals as something we definitely want to invest in. This is the category which will be really interesting for us in the future,” commented Heffer.

Heffer also noted that having a local factory was an advantage in terms of supplying New Zealand customers.