Participation at last month’s Auckland Food Show has confirmed that Kiwi consumers have gained confidence in the quality of products manufactured in Fiji and are keen to try new products, says Jagdish Punja, owner of wholesale and distribution company J Punja NZ.
The company was one of nine Pacific Island food and beverage companies that was featured at the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand hosted Pacific Hub stand at the Auckland Food Show between July 27-30.
Speaking to Pacific Periscope on the company’s participation at the Food Show, Mr Punja said, “Our new line of products had an amazing response from everyone at the Auckland Food Show. Everyone loved the quality of our products. We achieved what we set out to do: we gained new clients, people are now aware of our products and now know where to purchase them including from our online store.”
The company wholesales and distributes a wide range of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and commodities through a nationwide network in New Zealand. The Food Show was a good opportunity to spread awareness of where customers can shop for J Punja’s products in specific locations. “We were able to spread word that customers could visit our new online e-store where they can purchase and have it delivered to their homes,” Mr Punja said.
“While we are in the mainstream stores, we are also with Bidfoods with our biscuits and in the route trade market. The trade fair also brought the Countdown [Progressive] and Foodstuffs buyers to our stand and they tried our products and some came back to sample the full range. This has also led to appointments with buyers of key stores,” he added.
This year’s show was a lot busier compared to last year, with more visitors trying out their range of products. “We were better prepared and had a good spot which resulted in more customer interaction thus resulting in more sampling and creating product awareness,” he said.
The company was generous in its sampling this year. “Sampling is very important aspect of this business.” Not only did it prompt impulse purchase but it also gave company representatives opportunities to chat directly with the end consumer and gauge instant feedback and preferences. “We highlighted that our biscuits are vegetarian and Halal Certified, which was a huge plus point. First hand feedback on the taste profile and quality of the product is priceless,” he added.
Among products displayed, sampled and sold were a wide range of Punjas Biscuits, its own branded Aqua Pacific bottled water, breakfast crackers, Plain and Garlic Roti (which are already available in the international section of leading grocery chains), Punjas coconut cooking and cosmetic oils (with the latter available at Postie Plus stores), among others.
“Our company has gained a lot of confidence in its product range from the consumer comments we received at the show,” Mr Punja said.
Summing up the company’s participation at New Zealand’s largest food show, Mr Punja said, “It was pleasing to note that our products are liked by Kiwi consumers. They meet the Kiwi consumer taste profile and are affordable. We are on the right track with the existing and the new range of biscuits, water, roti, coconut oil. We need to continue our sales taking the food show experience and the observations we have made.
“It is great to see that consumers have gained confidence in the quality of products manufactured in Fiji and are keen to try the new products. Online shopping has made it easier for them to have access to all our products.”
Mr Punja said he was pleased with the overall experience at the show: “Regarding Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ’s facilitation, promotional and media coverage, they have done an excellent job regarding the publicity and facilitating us at the show. I saw that the trade show received coverage in the Fijian media too.”
J Punja NZ has roots that trace back to the well-known Punja Group of Companies of Fiji, which has been in business since 1935. J Punja NZ Limited is a New Zealand company owned by Jagdish Punja, who also owns share in the parent group. In 2014, J Punja NZ Limited took over the import, export and wholesale distribution business of Punjas NZ Limited.
For more information contact Joe Fuavao, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org