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China and Co. driving New Zealand food and beverage exports

By Andrew Schreiber , 29-Jul-2014

Consumer demand from East and Southeast Asia for high value foods and beverages is driving export growth and diversification for New Zealand’s food and beverage industry, a new government report has revealed.

The report, released late last week by Steven Joyce, the economic development minister, and primary industries minister Nathan Guy, found that the country’s overall food and beverage export performance to Asia has been excellent; performing strongly in dairy, as well as in meat, seafood, produce and processed foods.

“Asia is the fastest growing food market in the world and is increasingly important for New Zealand exports,” Joyce said

The report stated that of New Zealand’s core export categories, there was a strong and rising demand from China and the rest of East Asia for infant formula, dairy nutritionals and innovative foods.

In particular, there were significant opportunities in a range of high-value categories, such as chilled salmon, honey, chocolate, sparkling wine, beer, avocadoes, alcoholic spirits and cherries.

A drink is what China wants

The report found that there is still great demand for wines in East and Southeast Asia, riding on key trends like rising incomes, conspicuous consumption, branded luxury and giving bottles as gifts.

While the wine market is highly profitable, particularly in the growing super-premium sector, France still dominates the market as a standout market share leader.

However, it noted that New Zealand has the capability to match France but it would have to invest in marketing, innovation and new product development, as well as market development in both developed and developing Asia.

It also lamented that New Zealand’s wine industry was still too much of a “one-trick-pony” with an over-reliance on Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and that it needed to diversify its offerings.

France produces cognac, armagnac and champagne in different regions to sancerre (sauvignon blanc). New Zealand needs wider geographical diversity and many secondary regions have yet to develop their own wines,” the report said.

$1 billion in exports       

Guy said that together, wine and the other categories already generate more than NZ$1bn (US$0.85bn) of exports for New Zealand.

“In the past 20 years, New Zealand wine, honey, aquaculture, avocados and processed foods have all emerged to be significant new export sectors, and this report shows there are further opportunities in East and Southeast Asia,” Joyce said.

“The government has made major investments to drive innovation, productivity and diversification in New Zealand’s food and beverage industry, so that we can continue to meet demand and grow this sector.”

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