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NZ Petfood Wolfed Down By Dubai Police Dogs

New Zealand Petfood Wolfed Down By Dubai Police Dogs

Police dogs in Dubai will be munching on New Zealand dog food for the next year, thanks to an export deal brokered by Trade New Zealand.

Mt Maunganui company International Petfoods Ltd (IPF) was approached through the Trade New Zealand referral system to tender for a contract to supply 104,000 cans of dog food, to be used over a 12-month period.

“An Arab Emirates importer dealing with a New Zealand company in another area was advised of the police dog tender and so went to the Trade New Zealand office in Dubai and asked if anyone in New Zealand producing canned pet food was interested in putting in for it,” IPF general manager Bob Antram says.

IPF is in constant contact with Trade New Zealand through its nearby Tauranga office and was recommended for the tender. The Arab Emirates deal has been brokered via telephone and e-mail and will be delivered in three container loads over the next six months, all leaving New Zealand from the Port of Tauranga. The first shipment - a container of 45,600 cans - left today and will be served up to the police dogs from November on.

“We produce 19 million cans of pet food annually and of that only 15% is sold on the New Zealand domestic market,” Mr Antram says. “Of the 85% we export, about 40% goes to European destinations and the balance, to Asian destinations.

“In the past six years we have been working extensively with Trade New Zealand to secure those markets. Trade New Zealand has been particularly helpful in the Asian markets where language is a barrier. Their local people organise appointments, meetings, interpreters and provide local information to us.”

IPF sells in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines and Mr Antram says Trade New Zealand has also been instrumental in securing its biggest contract, which is to supply 20 container loads of pet food a month to a German client.

Tauranga's Trade New Zealand account manager Jodie Tipping says that IPF is a great example of a small company succeeding in a competitive international market by taking the right approach to its export business. "IPF is focused on building long term business relationships by supplying quality product that is tailored to customer requirements.”

Trade New Zealand has been able to help by providing essential information in new markets. Ms Tipping adds that, "IPF has the flexibility to look at short run production requests, which is a huge advantage with specialised export enquiries like this one."

Mr Antram says IPF has not previously supplied dog food to police dogs and the contract involved submitting product samples. Beef-based products were the pick from Dubai and Mr Antram says some modification is required for different markets.

“In humid countries the food requires more gelling agent, because if the gel is not strong enough the food breaks down and becomes quite watery.”

He says the deal is worth about $100,000 and he is hoping that the police dogs respond well to the food and that the contract will be ongoing. The Arab Emirates agent, Dr Basheer, is also looking for other opportunities in the region.

“We’re a small cannery by international standards, but this enables us to specialise in relationships with small companies and deliver smaller orders. It gives us flexibility in terms of maximum run sizes and a three container load order, such as this one for Dubai, is worthwhile from our point of view, but for a bigger company might just be a nuisance.”

IPF is owned by AFFCO and is able to access meat for its pet food quickly from nearby AFFCO plants.

“Our products are of good quality because being owned by AFFCO, we are able to get our raw materials fresh. It is generally recognised that the fresher the product, the more palatable it is.”

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