The Food Show Auckland was a good experience for Tahitian rum makers Rhony and Hinarii Moux of Tahiti’s Distillerie Moux learning more about the New Zealand market. 

Rhony and Hinarii Moux talk to a visitor at their stand.

Rhony (34) his brother Yann (28) and Rhony’s wife Hinarii (32) Moux were part of a group of nine exhibitors at the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Pacific Hub at the Auckland Food Show from 26-29 July 2018.

It was the their first New Zealand Food Show.  But earlier this year Rhony attended the Paris International Agricultural Trade Show.  He has also previously participated in trade shows in Tahiti.

French is their main language and they worried about communicating in English.  So they called in brother Yann, now living in Brisbane to come over.  The first day, they agreed, was difficult because of the language differences in being able to tell their products backstory.

“We were anxious because it’s a new product and it’s difficult to explain in another language the benefits, the perfume and the taste,” Mrs Hinarii Moux said.

But they worried needlessly.  They had a good stream of visitors and they learnt a lot from customers’ reactions on tasting the rum.

Being at the show was also a changing of the guard for Moux family.  Their father, David Moux (Snr) founded the company Distillerie Moux in Tahiti more than 30 years ago.  Now in his mid-70s he has begun handing over some of the workload to his sons and daughter-in-law.   Mr Moux (Snr) started producing and selling sugarcane juice before moving on to rum and liqueurs in the 1980’s.  Mr Moux (Snr) was the mainstay at all the shows along with Mrs Moux Snr who created their display stands.  But now he says he’s too old and wants the younger generation to take over Mr Yann Moux said.  Mum however, kept her eye on their display from Tahiti he added with a smile.

Rhony and his brother Yann.

They didn’t expect to sell all the stock to customers at The Food Show.  But they wanted to showcase the products and hopefully find a niche retailer.  At the end of the show, a fellow exhibitor offered to buy the leftover product and there was a potential distributor interested.

“We don’t want to flood the market,” Mr Moux said.  “We want to find a niche retailer.”

They had expected more foot traffic at the show.  But being part of the PTI NZ Pacific Hub, they were happy that they made good contacts with other distributors and met a lot of different people.  Importantly they had a better understanding of New Zealand’s alcohol palate and the market.

The drew on their experience with Tahitian tastes and demand, bringing over their sweeter Tamure Punch and fruit flavoured liqueurs and rum.  People liked the rum’s taste and the packaging was great – Hula dancer on the label, Tick.  But to their surprise the customers leaned more towards the less sweet and stronger rums.  They also found they needed labels in English to tell their products story.

Over the four days, their observations found the Pacific demographic liked the rum and bought.  Others were more tasters.  As a result, they believe their is a potential market in New Zealand but will talk things over with their father.  They are returning to Tahiti with a good experience and a list of considerations for their next steps.  In the meantime, Mr Moux is also going to another trade show in Japan supported by CCISM, Tahiti’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Interestingly, Statistics New Zealand 2017 data on liquor consumption showed wine and beer were the most popular for Kiwi drinkers with spirits third (driven by ready to drink – premixed drinks known as RTDs). Commercial beer showed a slight decline in popularity as craft beers are becoming more popular.

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

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