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The value of New Zealand-ness

How the FernMark can unlock your global food and beverage market potential

By Sarah Morgan


Our Ministry for Primary Industries’ goal is to double primary industry exports – from $32 billion in June 2012 to $64 billion by 2025 . Our food and beverage exports are set to account for $29.4 billion of this growth.

Ambitious, yes – but we Kiwis don’t do things by halves. And the latest data on the global food and beverage market indicates it shouldn’t be difficult to achieve this level of growth. This market was estimated to be worth more than $5,650 billion in 2017 – and continues to expand as the global population increases with more disposable income. How do New Zealand food and beverage exporters get a bigger slice of the pie? The solution lies in not more volume but demonstrating the value of what we export.

What does value look like? MBIE’s latest report Emerging opportunities in New Zealand food and beverage notes New Zealand exports obtain a significant price premium over the world price in nearly all the growth categories. Honey is a prime example – achieving 707% over the international benchmark.

That’s all very well for the established exports. New Zealand has a strong history of exporting products such as honey, dairy and meat that have achieved this value and fuelled our strong export reputation. But what about the growing categories, which we are not so well known for?

MBIE’s report identifies 20 emerging categories that have the growth potential to help New Zealand deliver on its export goal, including cherries, chocolate, avocado, blueberries, pet food and lobster.

New Zealand is not known for these products globally, but they have the potential to achieve significant returns for our export industry. To achieve the same level of value our honey industry is renowned for, emerging exporters need to establish credibility in-market and tell their story to their customers to capture their attention. This is not new, but collectively our point of difference is that we’re from New Zealand.

Exporters underestimate the link between telling New Zealand’s story and the marketing of their products in-market. Caroline Saunders, Director of Agribusiness and Economics Research at Lincoln University believes it’s a missing link in New Zealand’s export value chain.

“We are losing value in-market where our exports don’t mention New Zealand or tell our provenance story,” Caroline says. “We need to complete the value chain to ensure we drive value back to New Zealand’s economy.”

Evidently, country of origin, or provenance is a significant factor in the decision-making process for both distributors and consumers. MBIE’s report consistently references ‘Leverageable New Zealand factors’, including country image, food safety and quality reputation, provenance, sustainable practices and clean, green sources as success factors within these growing export industries and our highly-successful wine and honey export industries. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Customer Director, Craig Armstrong reaffirms these key trends.

“Consumers are increasingly demonstrating values-driven purchasing. There is a much deeper examination of the businesses behind the products they buy.”

The FernMark can help drive this story. As the New Zealand Government’s official country of origin initiative, a FernMark License gives exporters a mark of trust, credibility and authenticity in-market – all of growing importance to today’s consumer. It represents everything that’s good about New Zealand: trust, authenticity, good business relations, transparency, peacefulness, global creativity, sustainability and, of course, our famous Kiwi ingenuity. The FernMark captures the essence of who we are in a simple, globally-recognisable national symbol unique to New Zealand.

And collectively, it is all our responsibility to tell an authentic New Zealand story. Because we’re all bound together by the country we’re from. The more exporters tell a positive story, the more collective value we’ll achieve.

This is particularly important for our emerging exporters – those marketing the cherries and the chocolates. And time and time again we hear from Licensees how having the FernMark has helped open doors with global distributors, as well as build trust with consumers.

Smartfoods joined the FernMark Licence Programme to formally recognise their New Zealand roots. Vicky Taylor, Director, SmartFoods says, “We see real benefits in demonstrating we come from a market with a strong reputation for food safety, security and high-quality products.

“Our reputation, brand strength and sales have all grown since having the FernMark; the official third party, Government-backing is invaluable.”

The FernMark is essential in helping all exporters – established and emerging – tell their New Zealand story to demonstrate value and build credibility. The FernMark not only supports exporters’ individual success but will ultimately help reach New Zealand’s 2020 goal – and win a bigger slice of the food and beverage market pie for all to enjoy.

More than one billion New Zealand products and services proudly carry the FernMark across the globe as our international symbol of trust. Discover how the FernMark could strengthen your export potential by leveraging your connection to New Zealand: Flying the fern 

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