Harraways – a Kiwi institution
Harraways is proud to be New Zealand owned and operated and this year the company is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
Harraways Marketing Manager Peter Cox says the company has been marking the occasion in a number of ways to recognise those that have played a key role in making the company a New Zealand institution.
This has included ‘It’s Harraways Shout!’ events over May in Auckland and a major staff, friends and suppliers event in Dunedin at the end of May.
Harraways is the market leading oats supplier to New Zealand retail and commercial markets and the company specialises in both traditional oats and added value oat-based breakfast cereal products.
The company’s oat flakes are used in breakfast cereal, muesli and muesli bars, Peter says.
It also provides a wider range of specialty grain products including rye, barley and wheat flakes.
The Harraways story began in 1867, when a steam powered flour mill was erected on the company’s present site at Green Island near Dunedin.
The growth of the population in Dunedin fuelled by the gold rush of the early 1860’s helped the company to grow.
In 1893 stone grinding was replaced with an oat roller milling plant, which processed 1000 tonnes of oatmeal in its first year.
This heralded the commencement of breakfast cereal production for Harraways, however the production of flour remained important to the company during the 1900’s.
In 1958, after the purchase and consolidation of a number of competitive flour and stock feed processing plants, Harraways became the largest mill in
Otago and Southland and it is now New Zealand’s only oat mill.
Peter says that to meet growing demand over recent years Harraways has increased its production capacity with the addition of new plant and the modernisation of the mill.
He says the company values the expertise of its employees as milling is a process which requires specialised skill and knowledge.
“Milling is a true craft. There can be variations in the crop depending on where it is grown and differing seasonal conditions.
“Skilled millers know how to work with these factors and still produce a consistent, top quality product,” he says.
Oats pass through vibrating screens to extract any foreign material and are then sized by width and length into various grades.
Separation of the outer hull from the inner oat groat takes place and the oat groats are then roasted.
Following kilning the oats are rolled then some are cut to make finer porridge like Harraways Scotch Oats.
The finer the milling, the creamier the porridge. Wholegrain oats remain uncut.
Just before being rolled the cut groat is steam cooked at temperatures of around 60 degrees Celsius to increase the moisture content and the elasticity of the cut groat so flakes can be produced.
Looking ahead, Peter says that the company sees potential for oats in broader health food segments as well as developing oat based products, extending the company’s range beyond the breakfast table.
Of course continued innovation within the breakfast space will be a given for the company and as seen within the 150th Celebrations, Harraways has developed new Birthday release oat singles packs.
These include both a selection of tasty new berry flavour combinations that are rich in antioxidants, as well as there being a new chia, coconut and cranberry offer that caters to new trends.
“Oats are classified as Green E1, which means that once eaten, the carbohydrates are converted
into glucose in the body in a slow, steady manner.
“This provides a long lasting energy release. Oats are also low in fat, sugar and salt so we see great potential in functional health ranges,” he says.
Harraways is currently exporting to Asia and is looking to grow in all markets both domestically and internationally.
Harraways’ CEO, Stuart Hammer says that 150 years is a long time to be in business, which means that the company has built quite a following and a great deal of trust in the brand.
“We are proud to be a locally owned and operated breakfast cereal company that process New Zealand grown oats and we will continue to be committed to our many valued customers and our local farmers.”