Farmers Mill reaping rewards

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2014
grant bunting
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

FARMERS MILL: The first year of production has been positive for the Washdyke company, and growth is ongoing, chief executive Grant Bunting says.

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Washdyke-based Farmers Mill, is already reaping rewards in its first year of production.

The mill is the first independent grower-owned and operated flour producer in New Zealand. It has received funding from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) to produce flour and baking products with a low glycaemic index.

While the mill is not the first to provide such products, company CEO Grant Bunting said they wanted the product to be relative to New Zealand.

"We want to produce a product that does not just have the nutritional element, but also has the taste. We are based right here in the South Island and we want to be able to control the whole supply chain and know exactly where everything is coming from."

The plant will produce a range of low GI products including breads, muffins and pancakes. While the lines will be more expensive, Bunting said the prices cannot be prohibitive.

"From our market and product based research, we have had really good feedback from entities focused on GI; like Diabetes NZ, and we are looking to target groups interested in nutrition, like hospitals and aged care." According to Bunting AGMARDT are great supporters of primary industries in New Zealand. Getting the funding was great for the business.

"We are very very happy with what we received. We've also got great support from Lincoln University and the Food Innovation Network. We have also got an independent advisory board and an independent chairman. A third of the funding is by external parties and two thirds by ourselves."

The project will see Farmers Mill investing over $200,000 in the coming 12 months. Bunting said production continued to increase and was supported by South Island businesses.

"The mill is built to grow. We have got capacity available and we continue to hit targets set when it was built. Our first year has been really good and we have more than achieved what was expected."

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- The Timaru Herald

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