16th August 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | email@example.com | @foodtickernz
The United Arab Emirates presents a fertile market for Kiwi food and beverage exports particularly for fruit and honey products, according to new research from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
Ahead of the upcoming rescheduled Expo 2020, the agency has taken a deep dive into consumer preferences in the UAE and found that there was increased recognition of New Zealand as a supplier of premium food and beverage products among affluent shoppers, with awareness coming in at 60% – up from 40% recorded in 2018.
The research, conducted by Kantar, also found that UAE consumers strongly associated New Zealand with dairy, meat and poultry. Australia also scored strongly on red meat and poultry, as well as vegetables, while France came in strong for cheese, dairy and chocolate, and Italy was strongly associated with pasta.
While a strong association between these countries and their major food exports was expected, what the research also found was that in the categories of fruit and honey, Emiratie consumers made no country associations.
That could be an opportunity for New Zealand exporters – and not the only one.
“Fruits and vegetables are the most consumed products in the UAE household,” the research said in its recommendations.
“Currently, none of the exporting countries are being associated with fruits which leaves a white-space to capture consumers minds. New Zealand is also well placed to capture the opportunity, as it has the highest future purchase consideration for fruits vis-a-vis other countries.”
More broadly, the research found that New Zealand stood out in UAE consumers’ minds as being safe and premium, but there was also a perception that Kiwi products were expensive.
This meant that it was “essential for New Zealand exporters to set out their unique value proposition and tell a credible brand story to UAE shoppers”.
The research followed a period of increased trade with both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which grew throughout Covid-19, according to NZTE, making the countries some of New Zealand’s fastest growing export markets.
This export growth was primarily driven by food and beverage exports including increased exports in dairy, sheep meat, apples, kiwifruit, and honey, NZTE said.
In the past 12 months alone, trade with the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council – including UAE and Saudi Arabia – totalled $2.2bn, and it was now New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner, up from seventh in 2016.
Dubai will host the delayed Expo 2020 from October 2021 to March 2022.
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