Vegetables for Processing
Quick freezing has expanded remarkably since the end of the Second World War. The increase has been partly due to an export sales drive, but principally to greater consumption in New Zealand. There are now food cabinets in most food shops, supported by a well developed distribution service which provides a wide choice of frozen vegetables at all times of the year. The Heretaunga Plains, around Hastings, support a diversified processing industry and produce over half of the total. Other main areas are centred on Auckland, Gisborne, Nelson, and Christchurch. The main crop grown is peas, followed by French beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, and asparagus. Broad beans, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, spinach, sprouting broccoli, and onions are all grown for processing, and the winter crops are important in extending the processing season.
In 1956–57 the processers produced 27,000 tons of vegetables and tomatoes; this grew to 34,000 in 1957–58 and 51,000 in 1963–64. The value of frozen vegetables exported was £300,000 in 1957, rising to nearly £400,000 in 1959, and £730,000 in 1963–64. The value of canned vegetables exported fell from £387,000 in 1957 to £130,000 in 1962–63.