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Natural Products Expo Asia Opens Doors

Natural Products Expo Asia Opens Doors For New Zealand Exporters

Auckland, June 12, 2002 -- Increased sales and greater confidence about succeeding in the huge Asian market are direct spin-offs for the eleven New Zealand natural products producers that recently took part in Asia‘s first ever Natural Products Expo.

Held over three days in Hong Kong last month, Natural Products Expo Asia 2002 attracted around 200 exhibitors from around the world, with more than 4000 visitors coming to see what was on offer.

A wide range of New Zealand natural products were showcased in an
eight-booth pavilion, featuring distinctive black and white decor. The line-up included honey and bee products, pharmaceuticals, health food and dietary supplements, bottled water, deer velvet and speciality dairy ingredients such as lactoferrin, colostrum and hydrolysates.

The show was invaluable for gaining market intelligence about Asia and gave participating companies an excellent opportunity to meet key Asian buyers, sellers and decision makers says New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner in Hong Kong Georgina Kirkcaldie.

“The quality of buyers was of a very high standard and those showing an interest in New Zealand products were not only from Hong Kong but also Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia and as far afield as South Africa, the United States and the Netherlands,” she says.

“The sheer size of Asia presents huge challenges for New Zealand companies,” Georgina Kirkcaldie says. “Then there are the language barriers and a very different business culture. Negotiating is fundamental so you never quote your best price first, business takes time and Asian business people are very busy and will want to cut to the key information quickly, find out the benefits to them and then decide if the conversation is worth continuing.”

“Having said that, doing business in Asia is not difficult if one follows advice and New Zealand companies should not be afraid.”

Wellington-based Supercritical Extraction New Zealand was one of the New Zealand companies that took part in the Expo and Marketing Manager Sarah Gibbs says it definitely boosted the credibility of her company.

“Meeting people face-to-face is hugely beneficial and helps give your product an edge,” she says. “There was also leverage for those attending from the excellent New Zealand branding at the event and our reputation for being a quality supplier of natural products.”

Trade New Zealand organised the New Zealand contingent to attend the Expo and assisted with setting up the New Zealand pavilion, which was well positioned at the entrance to the venue. All the New Zealand companies attending valued the impact of exhibiting as a group, rather than risking being lost among the crowds.

A number of other New Zealand participants made good sales at the event and are now following up contact made with distributors and retailers in a range of countries. This includes Waikato-based Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company, which says the nutritional products and nutraceutical ingredients it exhibited were unique at the Expo and attracted strong interest.

“Going to events like this can put companies in touch with reputable and reliable distributors. That’s vital to successfully navigate such a large and complex market,” says Roz Pilkington, Marketing Services Manager for Tatua.

Auckland-based Nutra-Life Health & Fitness NZ Ltd already exports one of its brands of food supplements to Asia and used the recent expo to launch another.

International Sales Manager Dave Foreman says his company enjoyed strong interest particularly from China, where a growing well-educated middle class is eager to buy more western-style products.

“New Zealand offers a good source of alternative natural products to that market,” he says.

A recent survey by Trade New Zealand found that Asia remains the most important natural products market for New Zealand, both in terms of current exports and projected growth in exports.

Nearly three-quarters of the companies that responded to the survey are already exporting to Asia with Japan being the most important market, followed by Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore, Taiwan and China and then Malaysia.

Asia is one of the fastest growing markets for the natural products sector. The China dietary supplement market is currently worth US$3.63 billion and is set to increase to more than US$10 billion by 2010. Japan is the second largest supplements market in the world, with a growth rate of 6 % each year. A number of other Asian markets, including Singapore, are experiencing annual growth of around 5%.

The following companies attended Natural Products Expo Asia:

Alaron Products: (Nelson-based)

Glenalbany Products: or (Christchurch)

ENZO Nutraceuticals: (Christchurch)

NZ Game Industry Board: (Wellington)

NZ Manuka Products: (Wellington)

Nutra-Life Health & Fitness NZ Ltd: (Auckland)

Richmond Pharmaceuticals: (Hastings)

Siesta Holdings – Waiwera Bottled Water: (Waiwera)

Supercritical Extraction of New Zealand: (Wellington)

Tatua Nutritionals: (Waikato)

Velvet Energy: (Levin-based)

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