Island exporters hail Chocolate & Coffee Show experience

Tongan coffee grower and exporter Alipate Mafile’o of Tupu’anga Coffee describes his company’s participation at the Chocolate & Coffee Show in one word: “Awesome.”

Visitors throng the Pacific Hub featuring six companies from five Pacific Islands countries hosted by PTI NZ at the Chocolate & Coffee Show in Auckland.

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand hosted six chocolate and coffee exporters from five Pacific Island countries at the show at The Cloud on Auckland’s picturesque waterfront last weekend.

Along with Tonga’s Tupu’anga Coffee were Samoa’s kokoloa, Solomons Gold from the Solomon Islands, Paradise Foods from Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu’s Tanna Coffee – all housed in a specially designed Pacific-themed stand titled the ‘Pacific Hub’. The six-booth PTI stand was one of the biggest at the show.

The show, which features all things related to chocolate and coffee, was open to the public and saw a steady stream of customers sampling and buying packaged and ready-to-consume product over the two days.

Sandra Mazzucco of Tanna Coffee found the atmosphere “very vibrant”. She said the show gave Tanna Coffee “Great exposure. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the flavour of the coffee. I can say we had one-hundred per cent good feedback on flavour.”

Glenn Yeatman of the award winning Solomons Gold rang of chocolates and cacao products, who has exhibited at the show in previous years, was pleased with the exposure and the design of the Pacific Hub stand.

Tongan coffee grower and exporter Alipate Mafile’o of Tupu’anga Coffee said the show was “awesome”.

“A big thank you to PTI for the stand, signage, shelving space and design, the overall friendliness and helpfulness of staff and the superb media coverage. Everyone appreciates our deep connection to the Pacific,” he told Pacific Periscope.

Michael Greenslade, PTI NZ Trade & Investment Commissioner said, “Coffee, cocoa and chocolate are fast becoming premium, niche and recognised products from the Pacific Islands region. We are delighted to have had six companies from five Pacific Island countries exhibiting over the weekend.”

This was the first year PTI hosted Pacific Island companies at this show. “Last year we attended the show and covered it for publicity reasons covering Pacific Island companies that participated. But this year we have adopted the show as part of our five Path to Market trade shows which we support for our graduate companies of our Path to Market Programme,” Mr Greenslade said.

British High Commisioner to NZ Jonathan Sinclair with Etu Tusitala of ELife from Samoa at his turmeric health drink booth.

PTI NZ’s Pacific Path to Market programme is designed to help exporters from the Pacific Islands gain a better understanding of the New Zealand market. It is an export capability programme combining a range of export facilitation services to help export ready and export capable businesses to enter New Zealand.

The programme follows a series of methodical steps to get into the New Zealand market, starting with workshops followed by an exploratory trade mission to New Zealand to apply their learnings, trial their products and packaging and introduce exporters to potential buyers. Participating in a trade show in New Zealand is part of the Path to Market process.

Joe Fuavao, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager said, “Our participation at the Coffee & Chocolate Show this year represented another component of our Path to Market programme for our export ready companies. Most of these companies participated in the Auckland Food Show in July. However, our presence at this show goes a step further and targets a specific product sector and audience. It is another good opportunity for our Pacific companies to build profile and presence in the New Zealand market.”

Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau PTI NZ Advisory Board Member flanked by Tanna Coffee’s Sandra Mazzucco and Terry Adlington at the PTI PacificHub stand

PTI NZ’s Pacific Islands participants received good media publicity before and during the show. “It was great to see PTI featured on Seven Sharp following One News on television on the Friday, the day before the show,” Mr Greenslade said.

Celebrity radio host Mike Puru also spent time at the stand and highly commended the Pacific products showcased especially as he had tried them during his trips around the islands. “Only last week I was in Vanuatu where I was fascinated by the flavour of Tanna Coffee and I’m so glad to see it back here,” he told Pacific Periscope. He also spoke on live video which is posted on the PTI Facebook Page with other pictures and videos of the show.

Commenting on the profile of visitors to the PTI NZ Pacific Hub stand, Mr Greenslade said, “What was also great to see was the attendance of the PTI Advisory Board members and a group of European diplomats at our stand, who recognised that Pacific Islands products were looking as sophisticated and well-packaged as New Zealand products.”

Mr Greenslade said he had good feedback from the participants at the end of the show: “Attendance has been great and despite Saturday being election day in New Zealand, we had good feedback from the exhibitors in terms of the value they achieved from their participation.”

He said it was highly likely that the Chocolate & Coffee Show will be part of the Path to Market Programme in 2018 as well.

For more information email PTI Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao at joe.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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