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Nelson-based Proper Crisps has established a manufacturing plant in Yarra Valley, near Melbourne, to manufacture its crisps using Australian potatoes specifically for the Australian market.

Proper Crisps has been selling its New Zealand made crisps in Australia since 2019. Demand for Proper Crisps saw its Australian sales double in 2021 with the Australian market currently providing 20 percent of Proper Crisps business. Proper Crisps are now stocked in 1500 stores across Australia, with the business aiming for similar growth in the Australian market this year as it experienced in 2021.

The decision to work with Australian potato growers to produce a tailor-made range for the Australian market acknowledges the difference between Australian and New Zealand consumers, says Andy Leonard, General Manager for Proper Crisps. “We believe we make the best crisps in New Zealand and our goal is to also make the best crisps in Australia,” says Andy. “Like New Zealanders, Aussies want to know they are supporting local farmers who are working hard to provide great food products for us all. The plant in Yarra Valley gives us the opportunity to work with Australian crisp lovers to make the best crisps for them.”

“We wanted to apply the same commitment we have to working with local suppliers and local produce in New Zealand in the Australian context.”

Proper Crisps worked with an agronomist and local farmers in Australia trialing potato varieties as the iconic Agria potato it uses in New Zealand is not commonly grown in Australia. Trials were scaled up and cooks managed from New Zealand, with crisps airfreighted back for taste testing in New Zealand before being released for sale in Australia. Australian-based staff were trained to oversee the entire crisp manufacturing process by hand, just as it is done in Nelson.

“The people who make our crisps in New Zealand and now in Australia are chefs of real food not button pushers,” says Andy. “They work hard to capture the perfect thickness, cook, crispness factor and Proper flavours.

“The link between the Australian and New Zealand teams will remain strong as our owners and members of our New Zealand leadership team are spending time in Australia running production and supporting the Australian team this year. We will also be bringing lead staff in Australia to Nelson to reinforce our shared culture of doing things the Proper way.”

The establishment of the Yarra Valley manufacturing operation is a courageous move, particularly in the current context of huge economic disruption due to the global pandemic. However Andy says that in many ways Covid gave them the push they needed to secure the future of their Australian business.


“Covid-related supply chain disruptions coupled with increased demand for our product in Australia gave us the impetus we needed to take this next step.

“We hope that we inspire other business owners to be just bold,” says Andy. “Being brave in the face of adversity will be the key to recovery for us all. We believe that consumers will support brands who are willing to take the initiative at a time like this.”

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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