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FOR MANY Kiwi companies looking to start exporting overseas, Australia is a sensible first
choice. New Zealand and Australia have one of the closest and broadest economic and
trading relationships of any two countries in the world.
There are many similarities between the Australian and New Zealand markets, though
there are small subtle cultural differences that exporters need to pay attention to.
Mark Kennedy, NZTE’s Beachheads Advisor in Australia says that in the Australian
market, mainstream is disappearing – the market is going for the best or the best priced.
There is also a shift in what is perceived as a premium product. It’s all about the crafting
that has taken place to create the product – who was involved, where does it come from
and what passion drives the organization? You need a really clear sense of purpose and a
point of relevant difference.
High demand drives export growth
I spoke to Mike Sproule of Original Foods Baking Co. about the export journey of this Kiwi
wholesale baked goods company.
Original Foods was established in Christchurch in 1991 and produces over 90 products
including cakes, donuts, muffins, brownies and slices sold under the Original Foods Baking
CoTM, GoofyTM, Bite MeTM and generic supermarket brands. The products have broad appeal
in the New Zealand and Australian markets.
In fact, it was the high demand from Kiwi consumers in Australia wanting Original Foods’
sweet treats that started their export growth into the Australian market.
“We have a very loyal customer base and we still get people emailing us on our website
asking for their favourite products,” says Sproule.
The proudly family-owned business has been perfecting its baking recipes for over 25
years. Original Foods prides itself on the freshness of its baked goods. The company uses
the highest quality raw ingredients with everything freshly baked and then frozen to retain
freshness before being shipped. Natural flavours are used wherever possible with minimal
use of additives or preservatives.
“We now supply quality cafes, restaurants,
supermarkets, catering companies and tourism
businesses in New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands,
Samoa and Hong Kong as well as Air New Zealand,
Singapore Airlines, Virgin and Jetstar’s inflight menus,”
says Sproule. “We’re currently looking at the Chinese
market and continuing to expand our Australian market.”
It seems they are in a growth market too, with the
global demand for baked products projected to exceed
US$485 billion by 2020, with Asia-Pacific ranking as the
fastest growing market.
“We’ve just built and opened our new $10m, 2,800
square metre production facility in Christchurch, which
has allowed us to significantly increase our production
volume,” says Sproule. “And as for market expansion,
we’re primarily working with well-established contacts
we’ve made in each market.”
His top tips for Kiwi companies looking to export are:
Great relationships are critical within your distribution networks in each market.
A strong point of difference is essential – “there are cheaper products out there that try
to undercut us for example, but we have superior quality products and are leaders in
Don’t expect to make money straight away in a new market, it takes time to foster
relationships, understand market nuances and learn from your mistakes.
Keep building your contacts and knowledge, it can take time and some luck to find a
good distributor – you may need to try a few before you find the right one.
It’s good fun but it’s not easy! You need patience and perseverance. Hire someone with
experience and with good contacts to help open doors for you.
Don’t jump on a plane and run around everywhere. Stop, look and really understand the
market, and make sure you have a clear plan for each market
Conquer one market at a time. Once you have that one right then move to your
Catherine Beard is Executive Director of
Export NZ and ManufacturingNZ, divisions of
BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s largest business
advocacy group, representing thousands
of businesses of all sizes. She works with
government and other key decision makers
on issues of concern to exporters and
manufacturers. Catherine has worked as
advocate for industries in the agricultural and
insurance sectors, and on climate change issues
for the energy intensive sector. She is a member
of the Board of global standards organisation
GS1 and is Director of a business designing
and manufacturing children’s nursery furniture,
for which two products have won national
Export NZ and Manufacturing NZ
14 FMCG BUSINESS - FEBRUARY 2017
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