Gourmet NZ yoghurt may hit Japanese stores

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Gourmet NZ yoghurt may hit Japanese stores

Related tags New zealand

Demand for gourmet yoghurt has seen a small yoghurt maker from New Zealand attract interest from a multi-million dollar player that would see its products on shelves in thousands of stores in Japan.

Auckland-based Piako Gourmet Yoghurt announced this week that it was on the verge of a deal with a Tokyo-based company for its dairy products, to be manufactured in Japan, from where it would be packaged and distributed to thousands of stores across the country.

According to Shaun Jacka, CEO of Piako, the company's normal business model has been to start its own production facilities and control its own intellectual property to wherever it would expand.

“But Japan is probably the best high end consumer society in the world and we were lucky that the right people came along. We were so comfortable with the opportunity in Japan that we made an exception,”​ said Jacka.

Jacka said the deal would complement the company’s expansion strategy, as a Japanese deal would mean that its product would have a presence in three of the four largest economies in the world, counting the UK and EU.

The company signed a deal in May with Harrods of London, where its yoghurt has been rebranded for sale under the name Little Melton Gourmet Yoghurt. It also signed a distribution deal with Fonterra in May that would eventually see its yoghurt products in 90 per cent of New Zealand supermarkets.

Piako is a startup company that won University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge last year and shared NZ$1 million in funding that has helped fuel its expansion plans.

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