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Friday 20 May 2022

Meat, wine exports jump despite Covid, supply chain headwinds

9th November 2021 By Staff Reporter | | @foodtickernz

New Zealand’s meat and wine exports have enjoyed a strong September 2021 quarter with the value of the former surging thanks to China and US demand.

Red meat exports jumped to $2.2bn for the three months, up 28% compared with the same period the previous year, said the Meat Industry Association.

Exports to China increased 57% to $830m over the three months, the United States rose 35% to $542m, and Japan surged 61% to $109m.

“Beef exports, in particular, have continued their strong run with the volume of exports for the third quarter increasing 22% to 119,441 tonnes, and the value increasing 37% to $991m,” MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said. 

Sirma Karapeeva

“This was the first time that the volume of beef exports has been over 100,000 tonnes in the third quarter, which is a remarkable result for New Zealand.”

Karapeeva added that Australia was historically the largest beef exporter to the US, but its exports were significantly down this year due to herd rebuilding.

“Argentina is another important, although smaller, exporter to the US but its exports are also down, largely due to the government’s beef export restrictions and the high demand for beef in China.”

While sheepmeat export volumes declined by 8% to 61,944 tonnes for the quarter but strong prices in key markets saw the value increase by 10% to $701m. 

New Zealand wine exports reached $599m in the September 2021 quarter, up 9% on the same period last year, according to New Zealand Winegrowers.

The price per litre also increased by 4% over the September 2020 quarter.

“The ongoing demand for New Zealand wine has proven that the distinctive flavours, quality and sustainability of our wines increasingly resonate with consumers around the world,” New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said.

Philip Gregan

“It is encouraging to see that during these uncertain times, consumers continue to choose a premium product they know that they can trust.”

However, the grape harvest fell to 370,000 tonnes for the 2021 vintage, a 19% drop compared with the previous year. The had led to a 3% fall in the volume of wine exported for the year to September 2021.

“Successfully managing the market impacts of the resulting supply constraints is a key focus for many in the New Zealand wine industry. Wineries are having to make tough decisions over who they can supply in their key markets,” Gregan said.

He added that increasing production costs, the on-going effects of Covid-19 on the border and markets, strained and unreliable supply chains, and a projected labour shortage continued to impact the industry.

“With ongoing uncertainty at New Zealand’s borders, our industry is working hard to attract new people to our sector, to ensure we have the personnel in place to bring in the 2022 crop, to make our premium wine, and complete winter pruning,” Gregan said.

“The recent decision to allow quarantine free travel for RSE workers is positive, and we continue to work with government to ensure that they are aware of the impact labour shortages will have on our members if they are not able to attract the workforce they need.”

Ongoing international supply chain disruption was also impacting wine exporters with increased transport costs and unreliable shipping.

“Like every industry dependent on sea-freight, the ability for New Zealand wineries to ship products to market has been greatly impacted, as transport costs more than double and shipping reliability plunges. Unfortunately, this is a worldwide problem without any quick fix.”

Businesses that sold wine mainly through the on-premise and tourism channels continued to suffer significant challenges.

“Domestically, restrictions on operations of hospitality businesses are a major stress point for wineries dependent on that sector,” Gregan said. 

“Cellar doors have been hit hard by the collapse in international tourist numbers, as well as the impact of current restrictions on regional travel.

“Positively, we have seen more New Zealanders visiting cellar doors, but there are long, lean periods outside of the traditional Kiwi holiday period.”



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