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Tuesday 28 June 2022

Possum meat popularity drives company expansion

20th October 2020 By Samantha Worthington | | @foodtickernz

A Kiwi pet food company’s foray into possum meat has seen the business expand and ramp up production. 

There are about 30 million possums in NZ. Image: Shutterstock

Fond Foods manufactures dog food for both domestic and international markets from its factory in Paeroa, Bay of Plenty

The company is known for its Possyum dog rolls, made of the pest’s meat, produced more than 3.5 million kilograms of dog food per year.

Fond Foods has seen demand for Possyum double since 2017 and has recently hit a milestone of 500,000kg of possum meat used in its products since 2010.

Most of the company’s growth for its Possyum product has came from urban areas. 

“A lot of the demand has come from urban dog owners who are keenly interested in the health and nutritional benefits of their animal’s food,” said Clint Bolderston, general manager of Fond Foods.

“Possum meat is high in Omega 3 and 6 and can assist with skin, coat and joint health. This makes our Possyum roll a premium product, with still an excellent per feed cost.”

The demand for possum dog food had been a big part of the company’s decision to expand its factory in Paeroa. 

The expansion would enable increased production of Possyum dog rolls and greater capacity for production of dried possum treats. It would also create more jobs. 

“We’re a relatively small New Zealand owned company and we are often up against large and multinational competitors,” said Bolderston.

“Possum meat dog food was almost unheard of when we first began producing it but it has helped to create a real point of difference and Possyum now makes up 20% of our domestic dog roll sales.”

The meat that goes into Possyum dog food was trapped or shot by registered hunters who only hunt on TB-free land, where no poison had been dropped. 

South Island trapper Joel Compton said growing demand for possum meat had helped him launch a business and create new jobs. 

Compton trapped anywhere between 250 and 400 possums a week in forests at the top of the South Island, earning up to $12 per carcass.

A widespread pest, there are approximately 30 million possums in New Zealand today that caused significant damage to native bush and birdlife, according to Predator Free NZ Trust.

Fond Foods use of possum meat had seen dogs in New Zealand eat approximately 70,000 of those possums. 



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