From breakfast to dessert: Harry Hart building a Kiwi food empire

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Kiwi Harry Hart is building a locally-owned food empire. Pic: ©GettyImages/Istimages
Kiwi Harry Hart is building a locally-owned food empire. Pic: ©GettyImages/Istimages

Related tags New zealand Breakfast cereals Food manufacturing Procurement

Harrison Hart, son of New Zealand billionaire Graeme Hart, is putting together a ‘food manufacturing powerhouse’ with the acquisitions of cereal manufacturer Hubbard Foods, Hansell Food Group and the Gregg’s sauce unit.

HFG Group – soon to be renamed Walter & Wild – bought the companies in three separate deals for undisclosed amounts, bringing 500 iconic Kiwi brands under one umbrella.

“The bringing together of Hubbards, Hansells and Gregg’s Sauces under Walter & Wild combines some of New Zealand’s best-known food brands into a food manufacturing powerhouse,”​ said Hart.

Drive innovation

“The breadth of expertise, manufacturing capability combined with an understanding of markets, both here and offshore, will drive further growth and innovation. We now have a significant brand portfolio reaching consumers from breakfast to dessert.”

Hart added his immediate focus is integrating the businesses and once that is done, “will be making the most of the strong potential we see for these brands both in New Zealand and offshore.”

Hubbard Foods – established by Dick and Diana Hubbard in 1988 – is New Zealand’s largest independent breakfast cereal manufacturer and the third largest supplier of breakfast cereals.

“I am really proud of what Diana and I have achieved. The company is in excellent shape with a strong management team and the brand is a clear market leader in muesli,”​ said Hubbard, noting that, after making three billion bowls of mueslis and cereals over 30 years, it was time to hand over the reins to a younger generation.

HFG Group also purchased the licenses to supply Gregg’s tomato, barbeque and steak sauces, as well as the F. Whitlock & Sons Worcestershire sauce in NZ, as part of a required divestment undertaking from Heinz Wattie’s to purchase Cerebos Gregg’s.

Hansells Food Group was created 80 years ago when Old Fashioned Foods acquired Hansells. The company’s key brand are distributed across NZ, Australia and the UK.

Diverse portfolio

Harry Hart is a 33% shareholder of HFG Holdings – the parent of HFG Group – with Graeme Hart holding the remaining 67%.

Upon finalization of the acquisitions, the brands in the newly formed Walter & Wild will include Alfa One, Aunt Betty’s, Hansells, Thirftee, Vitafresh, Vitasport, Teza, The Coconut Collaborative, Weightwarchers, Hubbards’ mueslis and cereals, and Greggs table sauces.

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