Fiji’s maiden foray at Auckland Food Show enthuses participants

The Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand booth featured nine Pacific companies with products from Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Niue, Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga at the Auckland Food Show 25-28 July.

Eroni Qama, Business Innovation and Promotion Manager of Fiji Agromarketing (left) said the response was excellent and the Kava bowl was a big draw.

But alongside the PTI NZ Pacific Islands booth was a separate space dedicated to Fijian products, supported by the Auckland based Fiji Trade & Investment Commission. While Fijian companies have exhibited at the Auckland Food Show before as part of PTI NZ’s Pacific Hub (including three companies this year), this is the first time that Fiji as a country had its own separate space for Fijian products.

“We decided that Fiji was ready to take this next step due to the number of food and beverage companies that are export ready and have brands that can compete with their New Zealand peers,” Peter Rudd, Trade & Investment Manager of the Fiji Trade Commission to New Zealand told Pacific Periscope.

Manuel Valdez, PTI NZ Acting Trade & Investment Commissioner said, “Some of the companies that we featured at the Auckland Food Show have grown to have their own stands today. Similarly, it is good to see countries also taking the lead in hosting their own companies. It’s a measure of the success of PTI NZ’s Path to Market programme in the broader sphere. We welcome Fiji’s participation at the show.”

PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong said, “We tend to concentrate on new companies – ones that haven’t exhibited at the Food Show before. Five of the nine companies this year are first-timers.”

We’ve never seen anything like this before, said Fijiana Cacao’s Tomohito Zukoshi (right).

Six Fijian companies exhibited at the dedicated Fiji booth at the Food Show promoting, sampling and selling their products at the show.

“We’re very proud to be able to support these companies and give Fiji a platform at a large scale event in New Zealand alongside many of the country’s leading brands,” Mr Rudd said. “We feel the companies we chose are able to compete with their New Zealand peers and have real potential in the food and beverage market here.”

Fiji Trade & Investment Commission’s Daniel Corbett said the response was positive and there was a lot of interest in the Fijian companies at the booth.

Tomohito Zukoshi of Fijiana Cacao, which PTI NZ had featured at the Auckland Chocolate & Coffee Show in past years said, “We’ve never seen anything like this before. The response was great for sales. The public demand has been good. However, there weren’t too many trade buyers – so we’re yet to place our chocolates in New Zealand’s retail market.”

VaiWai premium bottled water, which again PTI NZ had featured at the Food Show in previous years, was part of the Fiji booth this year. Director Cate Pleass said, participating at the show meant “developing good trade connections.”

J Punja’s Gerish Punja.

J Punja, another PTI NZ Path to Market Alumnus, was represented at the Fiji booth, unlike last year when the company had its own large stand. “The interest was very high, especially in our crackers and masala tea,” the company’s Gerish Punja told Pacific Periscope.

Eroni Qama, Business Innovation and Promotion Manager of Fiji Agromarketing, Fiji’s leading produce exporter said the response was extremely good and there was high interest in kava and some root crop products. The company had its own kava bowl at its counter and proved to be quite the draw for visitors.

Other companies at the Fiji booth were Bula Coffee and PanPac, who also reported high interest in their products.

For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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