Griffins invests in Nelson artisan snack food company Proper Crisps

Staff at Proper Crisps check the production line at the Nelson factory.
MARTIN DE RUYTER

Staff at Proper Crisps check the production line at the Nelson factory.

Nelson's Proper Crisps has taken on a big corporate investor but says it will retain its artisan ways.

Ned Smith, who owns the gourmet potato chip company with Mina Wilkie-Smith, said investment from The Griffins Food Company would help it grow. 

The investment from Griffins, an Australasian-owned biscuit, snack food and confectionery manufacturer, is a first for Proper Crisps which was set up in 2007.

Mina Wilkie-Smith, Eddie Smith, centre and Ned Smith owners Proper Crisps, at their Nelson factory.
MARTIN DE RUYTER

Mina Wilkie-Smith, Eddie Smith, centre and Ned Smith owners Proper Crisps, at their Nelson factory.

"[Griffin's] recognise the nature of what we are, that we are truly an artisan producer, and that the brand that we created and the position we created in the market is quite unique and quite premium," Smith said.

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"We're just real excited we could find someone who could recognise that and allow us to tap into some of the insights of the business potential."

Smith would not disclose how many shares Griffin's had bought, but  said he and Mina would remain the chief executives and there would be "no control change whatsoever". 

"At this stage of the business we're doing some pretty significant expansion ... we're actually now building our fourth building here over in Stoke."

He said Proper Crisps started with premises of about 600 square metres  that housed the manufacturing, production, warehousing and administrative offices. 

The company built a bigger warehouse two-and-a-half years ago, and last year expanded its offices and added more warehousing.

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Smith said a new cook room and processing area were being built and  due to be completed in January.

The rest of the factory would be used to upgrade packaging and spicing systems.

"So we have no plans to go anywhere ... [the new design] allows us to take advantage of a better layout, better facilities for ourselves, for our team and then grow it as we need it."

He said new cookers, up to a maximum of six, would be added to the new building as the business grew.

"It doesn't need to be any bigger, we would be a very relevant national supplier with this factory working at full capacity."

 - Stuff

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