Paradise Foods marks 80th year with expansion plans
Papua New Guinea’s oldest manufacturing company, Paradise Foods, is marking its 80th year of operations this year, after its humble beginnings as a small-town bakery in 1933. Behind the quiet celebrations are big expansion plans, according to Managing Director David Peate.
Paradise Foods Limited has come a long way since it started as Morobe Bakery in the gold fields of Bulolo in 1933.
Following a merger of Morobe Bakery and the Paradise Bakery Group in 1992, Arnotts Biscuits/Campbell Soup Company bought 80% of the company and changed its name to Arnotts Biscuits (PNG) Limited.
In July 2007, Arnotts sold its stake in the company to then local minority shareholders, Nambawan Super Limited and Comrade Trustees Services Limited, which changed its name to Paradise Foods Limited, and appointed the incumbent Arnotts CEO, David Peate, as Managing Director.
Arnotts’ stewardship saw the commissioning of a new manufacturing facility in Port Moresby and a move into snack foods with the purchase of the popular Gold Nuggets brand.
It is now one of PNG’s leading manufacturers, producing brands such as Nambawan, Wopa, Highway and Em Nau.
‘As a 100% Papua New Guinea-owned company, it has been our aim to grow the business and we are now also the PepsiCo bottler and distributor for Papua New Guinea,’ says Peate. ‘We are currently investing in a multi-million kina bottling plant in Lae, which will be operational early next year. This further enhances PNG’s manufacturing capability and increases employment.’
Part of the company’s strategy is to help develop PNG’s agricultural and downstream processing sector. The company has invested in a pilot plant to produce chocolate using PNG premium cocoa beans under the name The Queen Emma Chocolate Company.
State-of-the-art technology is used, allowing Paradise Foods to ‘use the whole bean without any additional cocoa butter, resulting in a very pure, rich taste’.
The chocolate is currently only on sale in the duty free shops at Jacksons Airport and sells out quickly when in stock.
Peate is expecting board approval to commission a commercialscale chocolate processing plant, with the range expected to be on sale, mainly as a premium export product, in early 2015.