Fiji showcases finest food products in Auckland

Venkat Raman

Some of the finest food products of Fiji formed a part of ‘The Auckland Food Show’ held in the City of Sails last month.

Fiji had its own space for the first time in the largest Food Show that New Zealand hosts every year, with the event held from July 25 to July 28, 2019 accounting for more than 30,000 people.

Auckland based Fiji Trade Commission supported the Show which witnessed the participation of six companies from Fiji, which displayed and sampled their products.

Auckland based Fiji Trade Commission Trade & Investment Manager Peter Rudd said that the Food Show provided a large platform for Fiji companies and an opportunity for the Trade Commission to support them.

“We feel that the companies we chose were able to compete with their New Zealand peers and have real potential in the food and beverage market here.”

Big names, great brands

Among the companies that participated at the ‘Auckland Food Show’ were Bula Coffee, Fiji Agro Marketing (Agricultural Marketing Authority), Fijiana Cacao, Pan Pac, Punjas and Vai Wai.

Mr Rudd said that many products such as those of Bula Coffee and Fijiana Cacao are not currently available in any New Zealand retail outlets and hence used the opportunity to promote to distributors along with the public.

Fijiana Cacao Founder and Chief Executive Tomo Zukoshi said that the Food Show helped him to gauge public perception of his company’s products and how Fijiana Cacao should position themselves in New Zealand.

“It was great to interact with the public and carry out market research. Kiwis have been very responsive and open minded to recommend where they would expect to find our product,” he said.

Vai Wai Marketing Director Cate Pleass said, “The Food Show represents a fantastic opportunity to meet with those in the New Zealand beverages trade and to gauge opinion of the crowd, who have been overwhelmingly positive on the taste, packaging, quality and sustainability of our artisan water.”

Outstanding Display

While there were more than 300 exhibitors, the Fiji Stall, featuring the six companies stood out and was marked for its modern, softening and friendly theme, for which Fiji is famous.

Rajiv Prasad, General Manager, Pan Pac, which distributes Fiji Gold, Fiji Bitter and Rum Company said, “Many New Zealanders know about our products but have not had the chance to taste them. We have been received positive feedback on our beverages at this event and it is great that many Kiwis are excited to buy them and share with their family and friends.”

J Punja New Zealand Sales Executive Gerish Punja said that although his company’s products have been sold in New Zealand for many years, ‘The Auckland Food Show’ offered an opportunity to promote them outside their typical customer base.

“We were very happy with how well the Food Show has gone this year, especially for exposure of new and existing products to the mainstream public who were not aware of them. The feedback has been highly positive in regards to the quality with many comparing them favourably to their New Zealand equivalents,” he said.

Market Survey Opportunity

Many smaller companies including Bula Coffee also found it useful to attend as they were able to meet and survey other similar products in the New Zealand market.

Sales Manager Grace McCafferty said, “It was great to have the chance to network with other food and drink exhibitors and look for any trends in the New Zealand market. Our Company’s products were well received. People loved that the coffee is from Fiji, organic, wild and part of a social enterprise,” she said.

Fiji Agro Marketing (Agricultural Marketing Authority) was very popular being the only stand at the event to sample and sell kava.

Commodity Development Manager Eroni Qama stated, “The public have been very responsive to the quality of the kava. We learnt a lot about the New Zealand market and the importance of value adding such as packaging and design,” he said.

Growing bilateral trade

New Zealand is among the top ten export destinations for Fiji over the past five years, with the two-way trade placed at F$ 992.2 million as at the end of 2017, with annual average exports at F$ 110 million.

New Zealand has also been one of Fiji’s top five import markets. In 2017, the highest number of imports were from New Zealand, valued at F$ 858.1 million.

During her visit to New Zealand in May this year, Fiji’s Trade, Tourism, Industry, Local Government and Community Development Minister Premila Kumar described Fiji as the ‘Hub of the Pacific, the hub of communications, trade, investment, tourism and innovation.’

“We established our Trade Commission in Auckland about a year ago in Auckland’s Central Business District, alongside major financial institutions, corporations and equally important, many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). We are neighbours with businesses and investment partners who are strategically positioned to engage with each other for the benefit of both economies,” she said.

Photo Caption:

Camila Eras, Peter Rudd, Daniel Corbett and Sharleen Singh

Quality products from Fiji Agro Marketing

(Pictures Supplied)

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