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Friday 03 December 2021

“Time to tick” – The Good Oil owner preps plant protein play, new $2m factory

1st October 2021 By Monique Steele | | @foodtickernz

The Canterbury company behind The Good Oil brand is looking at an expansion into plant-based protein foods as well as investing $2m to expand its Rolleston processing factory.

The Good Oil range is available in most supermarkets.

Pure Oil produced a range of commercial and retail cold-pressed sunflower and rapeseed oils, and had a sizeable agricultural business, which included the production of plant-based protein feed for animals and industrial oils.

“For the investors and the board, it’s time for us to invest a little more into the business and tick it along,” managing director Nick Murney told the Ticker.

This has seen Pure Oil undertake an agronomy research and development programme as the company scopes the “human feed opportunities” of soybean, which was used to make a wide range of food and beverage products such as milk, tofu and soy sauce.

“The market opportunities look good,” Murney said. “We’ll get more into these food products as this business carries on.”

While Murney would not go into specifics on their soy-based protein and food opportunities, he ruled out soy under The Good Oil brand.

Pure Oil MD Nick Murney.

“The Good Oil has sunflower and rapeseed, I’m not sure whether soy would be a runner for that with the Good Oil brand, but there’s always other things around soy that are pretty interesting.”

Soybean might also have animal feed opportunities and the company would plant three hectares of the crop by mid-November, which would join its current network of 80 South Island grower-suppliers from North Canterbury to Southland.

As well as prepping for the soy protein play, the company was investing $2m to build a new 1,250 square metre factory at its current Rolleston site. That would increase oil processing and bottling capacities for its The Good Oil brand and also provide much-needed office and storage space. 

“As we’ve developed more, we do more oil processing like bottling, filtering and now we’re getting our own facility to do that,” Murney said.

The Good Oil brand was found in most New Zealand supermarkets and the company also supplied oil ingredients to foodservice domestically and internationally via The Good Oil Commercial Kitchen. 

Its retail brand was growing 25% year-on-year, Murney said, and was benefitting from a Covid-19 trend towards local suppliers.

“Domestic opportunities are good because people can’t really import and they’re looking to local suppliers to shore up their supply chains. They’re really interested in New Zealand-grown products.”

“Our value-added brands like The Good Oil are doing a lot more [sales] than what we had thought [in our three-year plan] but we’re doing less export.”

The company’s export revenue from markets including Australia, China and the Pacific Islands had halved on pre-Covid levels from 40% to 20% as shipping issues stymied distribution.

The Pure Oil consortium started in 2012 with current shareholder-directors including Murney, Andrew Davidson of specialist seed producer Midlands Holding, Ross Hewson of agri-business packing firm Southern Packers, and Roger Lasham of arable farming advisory firm Agronomy Solutions.



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