AWARD-winning vanilla producer Heilala Vanilla is expanding its premises in Tauranga’s Newnham Park Innovation Centre in a bid to boost production and cater to global demand. Located in the purpose-built horticulture business hub since it opened in 2010, Heilala’s increased site will be officially opened on Friday by MP Tony Ryall and Tonga’s Minister of Agriculture Sangster Saulala.
Heilala Vanilla’s director and co-founder, Jennifer Boggiss, says the expansion will make the company’s premises the biggest pure vanilla extraction production facility in Australasia and allow it to develop new products.
“Our harvest has increased year on year. That’s enabled us to develop a full range of gourmet vanilla products for the retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors, which we now export to over seven countries,” says Boggiss.
Heilala grows its vanilla on the Tongan island of Vava’u along with a group of vanilla growers from Tonga, and ships the total annual harvest to its Te Puna-based facility. The company has grown significantly in recent years, increasing its harvesting from 40kg in its first year to four tonnes last year.
“Over the past two years we have gained a number of new export markets and are well on our way to becoming a globally recognised premium vanilla brand.”