Pacific food companies score big deals at Auckland food show

Pacific Island food and beverage companies that Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand hosted at the Auckland Food Show in July have reported export deals of more than $537,686 (as of October 3), in a survey of the participating companies that PTI recently conducted.

Pacific food companies that PTI NZ hosted at the Auckland Food Show in July have reported export deals of more than $537,686.

PTI NZ hosted nine Pacific Island companies from five countries in a special Pacific-themed stand at the Auckland Food Show called the ‘Pacific Hub’, which was visited by thousands of consumers, retailers and distributors throughout the four-day event, sampling, negotiating and ordering product.

Commenting on the volume of deals achieved so far, PTI NZ Trade & Investment Commissioner Michael Greenslade said, “Part of the difficulty in economic development initiatives is that the results lag behind the activity. This time, however, we have been able to assess and quantify the activity quite quickly after the conclusion of the trade show, which was directly a part of the 2017 Path to Market programme.”

The opportunity to participate in New Zealand trade shows is made available to companies that have graduated from Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ’s Path to Market programme in their respective countries. These are designed to familiarise participating companies to understand the New Zealand market.

“From our perspective, this is a strong validation of our Path to Market programme and follow up trade shows for genuinely export ready companies from the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Greenslade added.

The Auckland Food Show attracted more than 30,000 visitors. It presents the kind of opportunity Pacific Islands companies looking to break the New Zealand Market need: introduction to buyers.

Mr Greenslade said PTI anticipated the ‘Food Show Pacific Hub’ would receive the same high profile it received in 2016. It introduced them to other New Zealand-based stall-holding businesses also exhibiting at the show, enabling them to source the Pacific’s excellent ingredients for their own products or to partner with them.

Participants from five countries

Pacific participants at the PTI NZ Pacific Hub stand at the Auckland Food Show.

Queen Emma Chocolates and Paradise Spices, manufactured by PNG’s oldest and largest manufacturers, Paradise Foods, participated for the first time. “It’s our first time at any international tradeshow, so to be here is very exciting,” General Manager Karina Makori said.

Ms Makori revealed Queen Emma Chocolate and Paradise Spices had been approached with several potential distribution offers. The company has developed three types of chocolate: Dark Couverture, Lovina Milk chocolate and Queen Emma Gold, each with a distinctive taste profile. The spices, like the chocolate, are made with local ingredients sourced from individual small holders or family units. Paradise has reported several deals in the offing.

Stanley Kalauni of Niue Vanilla International was happy with the outcomes of his company’s participation. The company promotes, markets and exports organic vanilla products to global markets. Niue Vanilla works closely with 60 registered and certified growers, farmers and community groups in Niue. Already selling in New Zealand, the company is on track to secure additional deals.

Fiji’s Tavulomo Coconut Processing showcased its newest product alongside its popular new product ‘coconut jerky’ that was featured on New Zealand national television as one of the five must-try foods at the Auckland Food Show.

Family owned and operated business in Tonga, Tupu’anga Coffee, an ethical trade product made up of 100 per cent Arabica beans proved engaging for visitors because the coffee grower was himself serving them the brew! Grown, harvested and produced in Tonga, Tupu’anga provides sustainability to families and communities living there, with profits reinvested into providing mentoring to around 400 children and their families each year across New Zealand.

J Punja NZ, the exclusive distributor of Punjas products from Fiji, distributing a range of products, including Aqua Pacific and Naturally Fiji was a repeat participant. Owner Jagdish Punja said, “Our company has gained a lot of confidence in its product range from the consumer comments we received at the show.”

Gerish Punja of J Punja samples biscuit products.

Wilex Samoa, a 100% locally–owned family business, officially launched its first line of exquisite Koko Loa chocolate and cocoa products in November 2016. Koko Loa is a new boutique cocoa brand proudly celebrating its Samoan origins.

E-Life Wild Turmeric, makes an anti-oxidant-rich beverage which claims to improve the lives of gout and arthritis patients in Samoa, E-Life Wild Turmeric. With his cheerful presence, owner Etu Tusitala always attracted a crowd around his booth and was also featured on television.

Natural artesian water sourced from underneath the low lying tropical rainforest of Fiji, VaiWai artesian water attracted great attention with its smart packaging – not only in looks but because of its better biodegradability.

For Fiji’s food major FMF Foods which manufactures flour and biscuits this was the second year it has participated in the Pacific Hub and the positive feedback received by consumers made their presence worthwhile. “Interaction with visitors provided us a good opportunity to gauge which products would work for us and why. For instance, their comments on Dalo Chips has provided us a deeper insight into what level of chilly [spiciness] works and won’t work in New Zealand,” Mr Raju said.

“Our goal was to connect our Pacific Island companies to potential New Zealand buyers. Feedback is that we have been successful in not only making these connections but securing deals. We congratulate the Pacific Island companies on their success at this year’s Auckland Food Show,” said PTI’s Trade Development Manager, Joe Fuavao.

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