Meadow Mushrooms' expansion continues

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 14:17 15/08/2014

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The second stage of a $120 million expansion project at Meadow Mushrooms' Hornby agricultural production facility officially opened this week.

The $12 million investment in the extension of the company's Christchurch farm will add 60 jobs and increase production by 37,000 kilograms of white mushrooms a week.

The company now employs about 500 staff.

Owned by former National Cabinet minister Philip Burdon and his family, Meadow Mushrooms was set up in the 1970s.

The company consolidated production in Christchurch a few years ago, closing a Morrinsville, Waikato, operation.

It is moving some Prebbleton operations to the Hornby site.

Chief executive John Barnes said the extension added to $45m expansion at the site in 2011.

About $60m had been spent so far, with another $60m to come on the three-stage project.

Barnes said an office administration and headquarters construction project would start before the end of the year and would be followed by an expansion of the compost facilities and growing-shed conversions.

"This development demonstrates Meadow Mushrooms' confidence in the future market and our commitment to the industry," he said.

"It's also an important milestone in the regional economy, underpinning Canterbury's reputation as a world-renowned food-growing region."

He said Australians had a higher average consumption of mushrooms.

"New Zealanders currently consume an average of two kilograms of mushrooms per person each year, which is approximately 30 per cent below the Australian consumption average," he said.

Fresh mushrooms were the third highest-selling vegetable in New Zealand, exceeded by potatoes and tomatoes, Barnes said.

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