It’s a dynamic multinational company that’s trebled its workforce in less than 30 years and is now the fifth biggest exporter in New Zealand.
It employs 1100 staff comprising 16 nationalities and recorded a turnover of $1.6 billion in 2021.
You’d think it was based in Auckland or the Waikato. Perhaps it has a smaller off-site operation in Christchurch. But you’d be wrong.
Anzco Foods is based in Mid Canterbury, at Seafield, and it really is a local success story.
It’s the biggest private employer in Canterbury and its heart and soul is in the Ashburton District.
When you ask site manager, Darryl Mackenzie and lamb operations manager, Chris Hindson, what Anzco Foods does, they say: “We provide quality chilled and frozen beef and lamb product to the world market, exporting to more than 80 countries.”
To show their dedication to Mid Canterbury, 95 per cent of their staff are local and they pour over $60 million in wages annually into this district.
“The culture of local people is quite unique,’’ Mackenzie said.
“They believe in what they’re doing and have respect for health and safety and for each other.’’
Mackenzie’s a local lad, who returned home from the North Island 18 months ago.
He said Anzco gives opportunities to Mid Canterbury people to reach the highest levels of employment.
“The mainstay of Anzco’s operations is its people. I’m proud to return to their culture and values.”
Its largest site is at Seafield where it processes lamb and beef. Its rendering, fellmongery and casings plant is there with a cold storage and distribution centre, Ashcold, in Ashburton and a lamb slaughtering plant in Rakaia.
It processes 1.4 million lambs and 105,000 grass and grain-fed cattle from around the South Island at Seafield and Rakaia and 70 per cent of its staff work all year round.
Mackenzie and Hindson emphasise their commitment was to Mid Canterbury farmers and the business community. They point to millions of dollars paid to local farmers annually for stock and similar amounts to local businesses and tradies for trucking, contracting and maintenance.
“It’s an exceptionally big turnover for Mid Canterbury and New Zealand,’’ Mackenzie said.
“Ashburton has done well out of us.
“In turn, the local workforce is our business. If we didn’t have them, we’d be struggling.
“The calibre of the workforce here is exceptional and their stability is well above the average in the meat industry.”
Despite a challenging time during Covid-19, where the plant was run under strict Alert Level 2 protocols with the workforce remaining a metre apart, Mackenzie and Hindson predict a “strong and exciting future for Anzco” in Ashburton.
This year they want to contribute more to the community at a sporting, educational and philanthropic level.
They are working with a range of agencies such as Farming Families to support rural schools, E3 Gym to sponsor Gumboot Friday in March with funds allocated to Mike King’s suicide prevention foundation and Pacific Church fundraisers. And they welcome the Ashburton Guardian’s shop smart, shop local campaign.
“We’re one of the cornerstones of Mid Canterbury’s economy in terms of the funding we generate and the jobs we provide.
“And our vision is to continue giving back to the community,” they said.
– By Malcolm Hopwood