NZ chunks beat Aussie lumps

October 31, 2017

Lolly lovers anguishing over the decision to move the production of pineapple lumps to Australia can relax.

The alternative, and original version, will still be produced in Oamaru.

“Pineapple Chunks” have been made at the current site of Rainbow Confectionary in Oamaru since 1953 to the same recipe Charles Diver developed for “Pineapple Chunks” under the Regina brand. Containing real pineapple juice, Rainbow manufactured “Pineapple Chunks” are widely available in supermarkets nationwide.

Rainbow Confectionery is the largest manufacturer of pineapple confectionery (known as “Chunks”, “Pieces” or “Bites”) in New Zealand, with product sold under Regina, Awesome Value, Rainbow and Private Label brands.

The company currently employs nearly 80 permanent staff, increasing to approximately 120 during seasonal periods. It has recently completed a multi-million dollar expansion of its Oamaru factory, demonstrating a commitment to producing Kiwi made treats for New Zealanders to enjoy.

With a product portfolio comprising gummies and jelly lollies (e.g. party mixes, planes), marshmallow products including Easter Eggs and choc fish, it is also the only New Zealand manufacturer of Jelly Beans.

Rainbow Confectionery is proudly New Zealand owned and believes in the importance of offering New Zealanders locally made confectionery. The company plans to continue making great tasting confectionery in Oamaru for many years to come.

I understand the importance of trade and the danger buy-local campaigns can pose to that.

But I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the people behind the business and the role they play as a significant employer in North Otago.

And while I don’t eat a lot of sweets, when I do I’ll be supporting the local business.

60 years of pineapple chunks

July 13, 2013

Pineapple chunks were first made in Oamaru 60 years ago.

They were made by Regina which was bought by Nestle. It has been operating as Rainbow Confectionery since Nestle pulled out.

 . . New Zealand investors Ray White, Patrick Betty and Rod Thornton bought the factory and breathed new life into the business, adding new technologies and investing in new plant, including machines capable of producing jellybeans, the only manufacturer in New Zealand to have that facility.

It has now brought back the Regina name, celebrating sixty years since Regina employee Charles Diver first made pineapple chunks at the Oamaru factory. They are believed to be the first oblong-shaped, pineapple-flavoured, chocolate-covered marshmallow lollies in New Zealand.

They came from finding a use for pineapple marshmallow left over after making chocolate fish.

”Diver’s recipe has been tinkered with a little bit for the 2013 pineapple chunks to contain 15% pineapple juice and no artificial flavours or colour,” Regina sales and marketing manager Simon Williams said. . . .

Some of Regina’s success was due to a chance conversation at a Rotary meeting.

The company manager happened to mention he had trouble sourcing moulds to make the sweets. A fellow Rotarian was a dental technician who made moulds for false teeth and could easily make them for sweets.

Regina was an institution and Rainbow has been operating in the same building on Thames Highway at the northern end of Oamaru which is part of State Highway 1.

Seven Sharp paid the factory a visit this week.  the reporter pronounces Regina with a long e sound to rhyme with cortina, locals have always pronounced it with an i sound to rhyme with miner.

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