Kiwi foods welcome on Aussie Woolworths shelves

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New zealand Australia

Kiwi foods welcome on Aussie Woolworths shelves
The incoming chief of Australian supermarket giant Woolworths Ltd has said that the chain will welcome food products out of New Zealand on its shelves, despite its policy of buying local first.

Grant O’Brien, deputy chief executive and CEO designate, made these comments in front of the members of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council (NZFGC), according to local media reports.

Benedict Brook, media relation manager for Woolworths, confirmed Brien’s comments and added that there are opportunities for processed food makers from New Zealand at their stores.

According to Brook, many New Zealand produced products can already be found at Woolworths' stores in Australia.

“The Rafferty's Garden range of baby food and Whittaker's chocolate are available at most of Woolworths' Australian stores as they remain popular with Australian customers,”​ he added

Katherine Rich, chief executive officer of the NZFGC, welcomed Brien’s comments adding that his visit indicated that Woolworths valued the NZFGC members’ contribution and the New Zealand market as a whole.

“The food sector can be challenging regardless of where the market is, but Australia remains the easiest market to do business with for a number of reasons like a common language, similar cultures, shared regulations,”​ she said.

Rich said that there are no regulatory hurdles to Kiwi food products going onto store shelves in Australia and that her council works very closely with the Australian Food & Grocery Council.

“New Zealand and Australia share joint food regulation and even when the markets differ goods that are allowed to be sold in New Zealand are allowed into Australia under the trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement,” ​she said.

According to Rich, the only challenge for food makers from New Zealand is being commercially competitive against Australian made food products, so that it made sense for the retailer to go with them.

“Barring New Zealand apples, more or less all food products being made in New Zealand are allowed into Australia now and the market is wide open,”​ she said.

According to Coriolis Research, the export of processed foods from New Zealand to Australia grew on an annual rate of 14 per cent in the ten-year period between 1999 and 2009, as against 10 per cent between 1989 and 1999.

The value of these exports at the end of 2009 also reached a high of approximately US$800 m, with products like fish nuggets, baby food, marmite, muffin cakes, spaghetti, peanut butter and beef jerky.

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