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Why Food Exporters Need to Taste their Markets

In a fascinating 2014 radio interview UK food futurist Morgain Gaye highlighted that food trends while often ubiquitous are not simultaneous.

They move slowly throughout the English speaking world from the USA to UK to Australia and then I suspect to NZ.  Food trends can take up to two years to migrate from one country to another. Consequently when a new influence in food takes hold in New Zealand it could already be eight years old.

Dr. Gaye’s article was a timely reminder that any New Zealand food business, whether specialising in fresh produce, ingredient manufacture, or consumer packaged goods, needs to be aware of where the markets they are targeting sit in the food cycle and if their product offer is relevant and competitive in the target market.

An unexpected favourite in Taiwan’s juice category – asparagus. 

An unexpected favourite in Taiwan’s juice category – asparagus.

Understanding the market situation is a vital step in working towards successful market entry and continuing market growth. A product designed for the New Zealand market may not be relevant and therefore noncompetitive in an international market.

NZTE 2014 Sustainability Trends for Food and Beverage in Asia report provides some great examples of markets where New Zealand food macro trends do not transfer directly and need to be adapted. The report highlights that even in more developed  markets, such as Singapore and South Korea, factors such as organics and sustainability are up to 10 years behind New Zealand in the mass market. Factors such as reliability, food safety and price are the major concern. The question to ask is,’Is this the best place to launch your organic, gluten free cereal or are other options preferable?’

Taking the time to understand where your offer sits in the market can save a lot of time and money and increase the chances of success first up in a new market or when launching a new product. It will enable you to tailor your product or your messaging to meet the opportunity that has been identified in the market.

Developing an intimate insight of the dynamics of the market through strong partnerships, regular time in market and quality research and validation early in the market planning process can ensure that New Zealand businesses are putting their best foot forward when they take a new offer to international markets, increases the chances that they are launching a product or service is highly competitive for the market position they are targeting and de-risks the lost opportunities that can come from launching a product that is not quite right for the market.

There are behaviours successful New Zealand exporters all demonstrate to increase the likelyhood of being relevant, competitive and successful.

Find out more by downloading the Katabolt Export methodology

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