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How the world views NZ F&B and what exporters can do about it

5th November 2021 By Staff Reporter | | @foodtickernz

The pandemic has made New Zealand food products more desirable in overseas markets but harder to justify because of rising costs and supply chain worries, according to new research.

Global Pulse Check 2021. Source: NZ Story, One Picture

New Zealand Story’s Global Pulse Check 2021 found that Covid changed eating habits with people staying home but paying more for premium and imported goods.

New Zealand food and beverage was more desired but became harder to justify as prices increased due to labour and logistics costs.

As the pandemic wore on into 2021, the research said “we are feeling further away, and the food miles that go with New Zealand as being a far away food producer are harder to justify”.

The was a growing preference in overseas markets for local products, with food miles “feeling pronounced”.

“The is being driven by consumer preference, but also buyer preference as a way of easing the logistics strain.”

To combat those consumer changes and perceptions, food exporters should “lean into the growing appetite for organic, natural and clean, and New Zealand’s inherent association with these qualities”.

“We need to continue to push the sustainability narrative that New Zealand produces food with lower emissions to counter this”

There was pent-up buyer demand in global markets and it was time for food exporters to get actively selling again.

“Leverage the positive impact we have made on our perceptions during the lockdown and think of how we make a meaningful impact with buyers.”

The research noted that buyers were ready to meet face-to-face with quality checks and relationship building difficult during the pandemic, although New Zealand stood out for “transparency and ease of communications”.

The trend towards more locally-sourced food has also been boosted by supply chain and food security issues caused by the pandemic.

Consumers were putting more value and trust in small and domestic producers with “a desire to support local farmers markets, growers, and producers”.

“The desire for low food miles is still a challenge for us.”

The global market was also becoming more competitive with a growing number of commodity producers – a position New Zealand exporters must avoid.

“Limited awareness of our primary sector brands means we are not always viewed as offering anything truly niche or value add, which makes our distance and size disproportionately felt.”

New Zealand had to be prepared for our “right to play” in overseas markets to be challenged as consumers looked to support local producers.

Food exporters also had to focus on value over volume to ensure long-term relevance.

“We need to keep investing in growing brand awareness to limit commodity associations. A country that farms with rather than against nature is a story the world is eager to buy.”      

The research was conducted in August and September 2021 by One Picture Research for New Zealand Story, and involved 14 online consumer focus groups and 13 business interviews in 10 markets: Australia, UK, USA, China, Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, Dubai and New Zealand.

The Global Pulse Check 2021 can be accessed at New Zealand Story after registration.



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