Promoting the Blue Pacific at New Zealand’s Top Trade Show

The Pacific region’s trade with New Zealand has gone from strength to strength in the last decade. Both parties enjoy an ever-co-operative trade and economic relationship. In 2020 exports to NZ totalled NZ$ 95.5m compared to NZ$ 99m achieved the year before.  Comparatively, New Zealand’s total exports to the Pacific in 2020 were NZ$ 1.1b compared to NZ$ 1.3b in 2019.

There have been obvious restraints within the past 18 months due to the global pandemic. However, there are still growing opportunities to export into New Zealand.

Figures for 2021 show a continued upward trajectory of volumes of fresh produce to New Zealand from our Pacific neighbours. The bulk is destined for the diaspora communities across New Zealand.

The regions’ exports to New Zealand come from the rich and fertile lands of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. They come in the form of root crops and seasonal fruits and vegetables including kava. 

Showcasing at Trade Shows

Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand (PTI NZ) represents the best products the Pacific Islands have to offer the New Zealand market. In June PTI NZ sponsored three brands from the Blue Pacific to feature in Fine Food NZ.

Fine Food NZ is a bi-annual food and beverage trade event. It averages 7,000 trade visitors and 300 exhibitors from the very competitive NZ food and beverage industry. PTI NZ builds a wealth of contacts and solid relationships with the industry through our involvement in Fine Food NZ.

Changes brought about by COVID-19 pandemic which curtailed travel has put significant pressure on our abilities to promote trade. This makes trade shows like Fine Food NZ an extremely useful pathway to generate new export opportunities.  

Aude Douyère, PTI NZ’s Trade Development Manager says show attendees are the decision makers for products entering New Zealand cafés, restaurants, and supermarkets.

“They are a motivated audience who can help our Pacific producers expand their reach into the New Zealand market. It is a great opportunity for Pacific Island producers and exporters to connect directly with food service providers, wholesalers, stockists, and distributors.”

Healthy Options from Tonga

This year PTI NZ supported Nishi Foods (Tonga), Fine Foods Ltd (Vanuatu) and Ashon Ventures (New Zealand).  Next year we hope to double this number.

Joanna Bourke who represented Nishi Foods said it was a great opportunity to be face-to-face with potential customers.

“Many people were unaware of nutrient rich and healthy products from the Pacific, and more so the Kingdom of Tonga. Things such as Moringa Powder and Breadfruit Flour. Sharing samples of café favourites like moringa lattes with gluten free shortbread (made with breadfruit flour) was a great way to introduce the Nishi Foods brand to visitors at the show.  It was also a wonderful opportunity to share the stories of farmers and communities that contribute to the quality and its journey to New Zealand.”

The Freshest Canned Tuna on the Market

Operating out of Auckland, Ashon Ventures is a competitive distribution company in New Zealand with a wide network of suppliers.  This year they promoted Soltuna “the freshest canned tuna on the market”, from the Solomon Islands. Samplers had good feedback about the product. Read more about them in our Pacific Success story in this issue of Pacific Focus.

Holistic, Natural Options from Vanuatu

‘’Let food be thy medicine’’ is the mantra of Fine Foods Ltd. The Ni-Vanuatu company practice what they preach by only using natural products. Based in Port Vila they produce frozen kava and their signature ‘’Supa’MAN Fries’’. The fries are cassava which is a popular alternative to potato. For the trade show the fries were air-fried and served with Fine Foods Ltd.’s Volcanic Fire Chilli Sauce.

CEO Cornelia Wyllie said Fine Foods Ltd. were pleased to get some good business leads.

“It is great to have these connections and we are ready to start exporting our product. Farmers from all over Vanuatu send us their products, from taro to cassava to pork. Developed countries commercially grow and use chemicals, artificial fertilisers, and sprays. The products we use are grown as naturally as you can possibly get. I love that the customers in the New Zealand market are keen to enjoy foods from the Pacific with a high nutraceutical value (foods that are good for you).”

Always Ensuring Product Exposure

In addition to sponsoring three stalls for the Nishi Foods, Fine Foods Ltd and Ashon Ventures, PTI NZ also ran their own stall showcasing a variety of products ranging from artisanal sea salt to hot sauce, to sea grapes and herbal tea.

Aude says this year’s Fine Food NZ reinforces the New Zealand market’s renewed interest in products from the Blue Pacific.

“At PTI NZ we are acutely aware that the Pacific has much to offer New Zealand consumers. Kiwis on the whole are very aware of where their food comes from. They want to see more transparent supply chains more natural products as possible.

“Aotearoa, and in particular Auckland has the highest Pacific Island population in the world. , there’s already a strong market here and we want to be there to help Kiwis discover new foods from their beloved region. This proved correct at our stall. We were able to provide several business leads to the companies we displayed,” she says.

Contact Aude Douyère, Trade Development Manager – aude.d@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz or +64 22 128 7618.

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