[16 November/Rural Life]

Invercargill’s Blue River Dairy appears set to cement its place in the Fast 50 index for some time, given it expects to double its exports next year to 15 million cans of infant milk powder. At an Auckland awards ceremony for the annual Fast 50 survey, Blue River Dairy won the New Zealand’s Fastest Growing Exporter award and the Fastest Growing Agribusiness award, and was ranked 4th overall on the annual index, having achieved revenue growth of 938% over 2 years. Blue River makes infant formula from the milk of cows, goats and sheep, with no mixing of the proteins between species. Blue River Dairy General Manager, Robert Boekhout, said that as the demand for quality New Zealand-manufactured products increased, especially in China, and that Blue River was the only infant nutrition plant in the world manufacturing infant formula products from 3 species. A new $15 million canning line capable of meeting the 15 million can forecast is on schedule to open after mid-2019. Staff numbers have more than doubled to 110 in the past 18 months. Blue River Dairy was founded in 2003 and sold to Chinese company Blueriver (HK) Nutrition Co in February 2015 for an undisclosed sum but with a commitment to invest up to $40 million on developing the business.