One of the nine Pacific food and beverage companies that Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand hosted at its Pacific Islands booth at the recent Auckland Food Show was Samoa Pure Water Company.

Samoa Pure Water’s Kennedy Sua

It was the first time that the company participated in the Auckland Food Show, though it did have a stand at the one-day Path to Market show that PTI NZ organised at The Cloud on the Auckland waterfront in April this year.

Samoa Pure Water is a family-owned bottled water company operating in Samoa since 2009 with  its own production and bottling supplying product for both local Samoan and international markets.

Kennedy Sua represented the company at the Auckland Food Show and spoke to Pacific Periscope in an extensive interview during and after the show:

Pacific Periscope: What was the biggest takeaway from the Auckland Food Show?

Kennedy Sua: Creating and spreading awareness. It was an opportunity to communicate to the public that there is a new product in town that’s available for purchase. Throughout the show our mission was about giving visitors the chance to taste the difference in our water quality. People were able to taste the difference and commented  about what they expect in their bottled water they buy from supermarkets and dairies.

The other big takeaway is consumer feedback: Having a stall in a place that thousands of people walk through with the sole aim of sampling different products was in essence a goal we were aiming to achieve. Honest feedback was given not only for taste of our product but also our packaging. The comments gave us a good idea of what consumers in New Zealand are looking for when they’re buying. It has given us an amazing overview and a fair idea of what we need to do to refine our product to reach the satisfactory levels that consumers want.

PP: Your aim was also to try to find distributors? Were you successful in this?

The complete range of Samoa Pure Water.

KS: Yes, and I am glad to say it was a success. We are now in contact with some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry (hotel chains) and high-end restaurants. Speaking to a few distributors, we were able to select a few that offer us service package deals that not only helps us achieve distribution chain requirements but also providing a cost effective solution. I can’t say much as we are now in negotiations but I am confident with that having come this far, there is not a lot of hoops we need to jump through to reach our intended goals.

PP: What were the reactions of Kiwis to Samoa Water?

KS: One of the key questions that kept popping up from Kiwis was – what is the point of difference in our water and that of other companies? Of course we gave them our marketing pitch of our water coming from one of purest of sources due to its ecological location, abundance of natural preservatives and so on. But, you know, words can take you so far – so we gave them the opportunity to sample and taste for themselves what makes our water better than others’. I think from my observation, Kiwis are more engaging when you provide them proof of what you claim, so it became an easy dialogue due to their genuine interest of how they can purchase this in New Zealand. It also gave them a sense of satisfaction in supporting the cause of supporting private sector companies in the Pacific who are trying to reach the international stage

PP: Have you found a distributor? Or a marketing consultant for NZ?

KS: Yes we have, we are so far in talks with them about what we want and what they can provide. It’s early stages yet but I see it as a great opportunity for our company.

PP: So how was the overall experience?

We feel grateful and thankful to PTI NZ for an amazing job in facilitating us to have the best access to people in New Zealand. I mean we were right in front of one of the entrances, which is important if you wish for your product to be sampled before anyone else’s. I believe in that saying is “the first cut is the deepest”. To me the opportunity to taste your product first leaves a bigger, better impression than the rest. We would like to thank you, PTI NZ, and the team for making this possible. This was Samoa Pure Water’s first time at the show; we look forward to the next one.

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

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