The meat and dairy processing sector
The seven largest businesses in the region are directly involved in dairy and meat processing and exert an enormous influence on the local (as well as the national) economy. In 2006, of the seven companies, three were Fonterra-owned dairy processing companies that employed a total of 1,631 staff. Employment at each of the sites in May 2006, were as follows: Fonterra Eltham, 530 staff, followed by Fonterra Kapuni, 105 staff and the largest employer Fonterra Whareroa, 996 staff. The Whareroa site had gross earnings of NZ $1,300 million, which is 3% of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (Corbett, 2006).
The next three major employers in the South Taranaki District are the three meat-processing plants, which together employed a total of 1,440 staff at the following plants, Silver Fern Farms Ltd, Hawera, 560 staff , Waitotara Silver Fern Farms Ltd, 280 staff and Riverlands, Eltham, 600 staff (Johnson, 2006).
The seventh large employer in the district is Smith Bros Trading Group (SBTG), a boutique meat by-product business employing 109 staff. SBTG, in partnership with Riverlands, is an example of a value-adding downstream product fit. The two companies have a series of joint ventures developing and processing high value edible products such as edible beef bouillon powder and edible gelatine. In 2006, as part of this joint venture SBTG installed a semi-automated bone gel plant and a hydrogenated fat extraction plant.
Yarrows - The Bakers
Yarrows (The Bakers) Ltd was established in Manaia, South Taranaki in 1923. The bakery operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and employs approximately 100 local staff. The business supplies an extensive range of breads, speciality breads, rolls, croissants, gourmet cookies and other quality bakery products to leading supermarkets, retailers and food companies throughout New Zealand. Since the 1990s approximately 60% of production is exported around the globe to countries such as: Canada, the United States, Australia, the Pacific Islands, Singapore, Taiwan, the UAE and Japan. The company has recently established production facilities in Australia.