Kiwi butcher Hellers has bought Christchurch-based Flavour House for an undisclosed sum, and is launching a new product line in New Zealand and Australia.

Hellers chief executive John McWhirter said the company was poised to continue expansion into Australia, after launching its sausage products in the Costco chain last year.

The business had been working with Flavour House, which make sauces, marinades, jams, vinegars, oils and drinks, for about five years prior to the acquisition earlier this month.

McWhirter said the purchase and planned expansion was in line with the company's strategy of investing in aligned food businesses, and expanding its reach internationally.


"Hellers in New Zealand has reached the point where it's difficult to grow any more, and we appreciate that New Zealand consumers like our product so we have to look at how we continue to grow and develop," McWhirter says.

"One of the key reasons why we acquired the Flavour House business is it gives us the technology and capability to do the sauces, and combine it with the meat, and at the same time we've put a new packaging facility into our site in Christchurch," he says.

"We know that our combined businesses will be greater than the sum of the parts."

The partnership initially began with Flavour House creating a marinade for Hellers' pork ribs. More recently the company has also provided sauces for the butchers' latest product My Main Course which offers a range of pre-prepared meal ingredients.

The product line was launched last year and, according to McWhirter, has been successful in the New Zealand market.

"It's going pretty well," he says. "Consumers are starting to understand the product and so we've noticed an increase in sales, and this market is a growing one so we expect as we get into winter it will really kick off."

He said the company was in talks with Australian retailers to stock its products.

The company's sausages are already stocked in Australia's Costco chain.


Today, Hellers two plants are responsible for producing more than 80 varieties of small goods, four million sausages and 1.6 million slices of bacon each week.

The My Main Course range currently includes six, pre-prepared product offerings including BBQ Pulled Pork, Thai Chicken Curry, Savoury Pork Mince, Green Lentil Dahl, Mexican Chicken and other vegetarian options.

McWhirter said the new range and its acquisition of Flavour House provided an exciting opportunity for the company to grow.