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A Taste of New Zealand

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Consumer food trends are under the microscope with Professor David Hughes, an authority on global food industry issues, and Dr Andrew Zhu, an expert on China’s e-commerce, discussing the current global trends and opportunities for New Zealand food product in China.

Staggering numbers of one-person households and an increasing volatility in the global food and feed market as a result of the climate, oil prices, food safety disasters, livestock diseases, were discussed by Professor David Hughes in a recent seminar in Auckland.

The seminar, hosted by the University of Auckland Food and Health Programme and The FoodBowl, presented recent consumer trends and how they are impacting on the New Zealand food and beverage industry. The engaging Professor, from the Imperial College London, provided attendees with interesting insights into the labelling of meat, with many consumers being drawn to products with adjectives such as ‘organic’, ‘grass fed’, ‘free range’ and ‘single estate’. Professor Hughes also went on to detail trends in meat and dairy replacements, noting the large FMCG companies buying into the trend, including Ben and Jerry’s with their introduction of almond-milk ice cream and Phillipines’ Monde Nissan recently acquiring UK firm Quorn.

Dr Andrew Zhu, from the University of Auckland New Zealand Asia Institute, complemented the session by providing insights into China’s online shoppers. Dr Zhu highlighted that an incredible 64.7% of Chinese E-commerce platforms carry NZ made products, with dairy, honey, seafood based dietary supplements, meat, fresh food, snack food and skincare being the top products. Chinese consumer’s perceptions of New Zealand food and health products are very positive, with ‘rest assured’, ‘green’, ‘good quality’ and ‘fresh’, being amongst the descriptions provided. With this in mind, labelling of food, beverages and supplements, that are manufactured in New Zealand and destined for China, are likely to benefit from labelling that emphasises New Zealand as the country of origin.

Dr Zhu also provided insight into the use of 'sunshine’ and 'grey' channels as an alternative mode for exporting to China, however, he highlighted that the effectiveness of these channels were still heavily reliant on the Chinese social media generated by Chinese migrants in New Zealand, rather than traditional advertising.

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