60 Years of Aroma
2021 marks sixty years in business for Aroma NZ Ltd. Over the years, we have built a company where the family values of partnerships, integrity and innovation have been central to what we do and how we do it. Here's our story.
1960 - 1980
In 1958, R.J. Winters and his family arrived in New Zealand from Rotterdam, Netherlands. They had experience in distilling oils for the perfume industry. A few years later in 1961, Aroma NZ Ltd was established, with the family producing flavourings and essences for the soft drink industry. That’s where the name “Aroma” came from.
In the early days, Aroma would create malt extract out of a factory in Waltham. They supplied Griffin’s with the sticky layer between the popular Shrewsbury biscuits. Keen to diversify, the father and son partnership of R.J Winters and Ben G Winters soon also became garlic growers, which developed into a Canterbury garlic grading enterprise.
A small empty factory space made way for the launch of another business venture. Aroma began producing Equestrian helmets under the label “Badminton”. The business evolved and grew over the years also making a cycle helmet under the brand “Safe” – showing our true innovation and ability to adapt to the needs of the market.
1980 - 2000
After receiving a fax request from an existing customer asking for mussel powder, the direction of Aroma was dramatically changed. Export of their unique green-lipped mussel extract began. That was back in the 1980’s, when Aroma contracted their freeze-drying to an Invercargill company. In the early 2000’s, the Invercargill company closed their freeze-drying division and Aroma bought the equipment for their Christchurch manufacturing facility.
With the growth and expansion of Aroma, they moved to their existing site in Senior Place, Bromley. Aroma slowly acquired property within the street and set about joining them as one MPI recognised site.
In early 2000, another generation of the Winters family joined the Aroma team. Ben S Winters (Ben Jnr) brought a young innovative mindset and began marketing Aroma to different parts of the world.
2000 - 2015
Export markets were buoyant, and the Aroma team began attending various global trade shows. These enabled us to form strong partnerships with companies and clients all around the world that we still maintain today.
The major 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch in 2011 caused serious damage to our Bromley factories. Thankfully, we had sufficient stock of Mussel powder to maintain export orders while urgent repairs were undertaken.
The next few years brought about massive growth for Aroma. In 2012, we purchased our first Mussel Farm in the Marlborough Sounds and our first Mussel vessel “Brightstar”. The following year, Aroma Aquaculture Ltd. was established in Havelock, with marine farming management appointed to help with on-and-off water operations.
John Gallagher joined Aroma in 2014 as the General Manager - overseeing the operational day-to-day running of the business. In 2015, a purpose-built Mussel processing factory was built at Havelock Port to help with the increasing global demand of Greenshell Mussel powder and oil.
2015 - 2020
As growth continued, we purchased 2 new buildings on Senior Place to accommodate a finished products warehouse and a new office for our administration team. Aroma NZ commissioned the design and construction of a CO2 Super Critical Fluid Extraction plant used in the manufacture of Greenshell Mussel Oil.
In 2019, we purchased an existing mussel farm operation in Banks Peninsula, along with 2 new vessels “Gladiator” and “Juliet”.
We commissioned the design and build of our new Mussel harvester “Kakara”. This state-of-the-art boat has a 90T harvesting capacity, which significantly improves productivity.
With the global pandemic COVID-19 disrupting usual business practices and travel restrictions put in place for New Zealand citizens, this was the first time in twenty years that we were not able to attend trade-shows.
Covid 19 was the catalyst to bring about further diversification. In 2019, Aroma began negotiations with the University of Otago regarding botanicals as a nutraceutical. This led to a partnership centred around the use of Dahlia flowers as a natural product to combat diabetes (type II) through reducing blood glucose levels. This project and clinical research is in its infancy but has exciting prospects.
Aroma purchased Moffatts Flower Company to allow for the expansion of the Dahlia project while at the same time further diversifying into flowers and house plants.
As 2020 ended, we purchased the Biolane brand and client list from Vitaco. Biolane was the original Green-Lipped Mussel (GLM) brand in New Zealand and was largely promoted by the former Professor John Croft - whom put GLM on the map with his world-wide educational talks.
2021 (and beyond) ...
Aroma now owns, leases and manages up to 40 farms throughout the Marlborough sounds.
This year, we have installed a new milling and powder-blending facility at site 5, which will allow us to increase powder production by 25% to keep up with global demand. A new flash dryer is being installed to dry waste mussel shell which can be used for fertilizer and animal feeds.
Thanks for your support
We'd like to thank all of our valued clients, partners, and staff for the loyal support of our family-run business over the past sixty years.