Vanilla grower extends facility to meet global demand


<p style="text-align: justify;">Award-winning New Zealand based vanilla producer Heilala Vanilla, which sources its vanilla from Tonga, will inaugurate its expanded facility to boost production this week.<!--more--></p>

[caption id="attachment_6063" align="aligncenter" width="300"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-6063" alt="Heilala Vanilla co-founder and director Jennifer Boggiss at the company’s new production facility in Tauranga. Photo: Dev Nadkarni" src="" width="300" height="250" /></a> Heilala Vanilla co-founder and director Jennifer Boggiss at the company’s new production facility in Tauranga. Photo: Dev Nadkarni[/caption]
<p style="text-align: justify;">Tonga’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Sangster Saulala and New Zealand Member of Parliament Tony Ryall will officially open the second stage of Newnham Park Innovation Centre in Tauranga, where Heilala has been based, on 23 May. The park is Tauranga’s purpose-built horticulture innovation business hub.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Jennifer Boggiss, Heilala Vanilla director and co-founder says, “With this expansion, we believe we now have the biggest pure vanilla extraction production facility in Australasia.” Global demand for its vanilla products has been growing these past few years.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Heilala grows its vanilla on the Tongan island of Vava’u along with a group of vanilla growers from Tonga, and ships the total annual harvest to its facility based in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty. There it extracts the pure vanilla and turns it into a range of products, including paste, syrup and sugar. The new, larger facility means Heilala can boost production and develop new products.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">“Our harvest has increased year on year,” says Jennifer. “That has enabled us to develop a full range of gourmet vanilla products for the retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors, which we now export to over seven countries.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) has worked closely with Heilala Vanilla, helping the company exhibit its product line at the Fine Food Australia trade shows – the largest show of the food service industry in Australasia.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">“Over the past two years we have gained a number of new export markets and are well on our way to becoming a globally recognised premium vanilla brand,” Ms Boggiss said. The company has gone from harvesting 40kg in its first year to harvesting four tonnes in 2013.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Heilala Vanilla’s growth has brought the company many accolades, the most recent being last year’s prizes in the Deloitte Fast 50 Central Region, as fastest-growing exporter and fastest-growing manufacturer.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Speaking about the company’s close ties with Tonga Ms Boggiss said, “Heilala has close ties with Tonga and was established on the principles of fair trade. The people of Tonga are an integral part of our business, so having representatives attend our opening means they are with us every step of the way.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Several dignitaries from Tonga including the Minister and CEO of Agriculture, and the Governor of Vava’u, besides others will attend the 23 May opening. Heilala’s long-term goal is to make Tonga globally synonymous with premium vanilla, Ms Boggiss said.</p>
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