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NZ'S Favourite Blue Takes World Stage

6 March 2008

NZ'S Favourite Blue Takes World Stage

Kapiti Kikorangi has been voted New Zealand's best-tasting export cheese at Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards last night (4 March). This iconic Kiwi blue was named the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise's Champion Export Cheese by a panel of 26 cheese experts.

Kapiti Kikorangi was first launched in New Zealand in the late eighties when the local blue cheese market was just in its infancy. Already acknowledged as New Zealand's most-awarded cheese, Kapiti Kikorangi showed just how far New Zealand consumers have come by being named the New World Champion Favourite Cheese of the competition. This award was truly a people's choice vote decided by supermarket sales in the last year.

Made at Fonterra Brands' Eltham factory, Kapiti Kikorangi has been exported for many years to a number of existing and emerging export markets.

Mark O'Donnell, Fonterra Brands' General Manager (Sales) describes Kapiti's export focus as a niche export marketing strategy where the company chooses to balance supply with quality considerations that are not about volume growth but targeted brand exposure. ""For us it's not about quantity at the expense of quality".

"We have doubled our export growth in the last 10 years but this growth is based on making strategic decisions of where and how to expand, and being smart about these choices. Air New Zealand has supported the Kapiti brand by taking our products to the world market with international, as well as domestic, in-flight cheese boards. We proactively target fine dining, 5 star food service and the ex-pat market in selected overseas territories," he says.

"Exporting our specialist cheeses is an expensive and risky business. Right now, we have huge growth in domestic consumption for these cheeses and to enter large markets fully would need consistency of supply and, basically, a lot of cheese. You have to bear in mind that Kapiti cheeses are handmade in small factories and so we have to balance supply with premium quality considerations," says O'Donnell.

Kapiti instead focuses on its major export countries of China, Singapore, Hong Kong, parts of the Pacific Islands and the Middle East.

Kapiti's success at the 2008 Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards is a clear demonstration that Fonterra Brands can create wonderful cheeses on any scale. From Kapiti Ramara, made in small 60kg batches, to the sale of 1.5 million 1kg blocks of Mainland cheese every year, Fonterra Brands is consistently producing award winning speciality cheeses of artisan quality.

Kapiti blue cheesemaker at Fonterra Brands Eltham factory, Keven Saywell was also honoured at the Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards, winning the Hospitality Magazine Champion Cheesemaker of the Year.

Fonterra Brands (NZ) Champion Cheeses:

Taylor's Port Champion of Champions Award
Ferndale Maestro Blue - Fonterra Brands NZ

New World Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Kapiti Ramara - Fonterra Brands NZ

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Ferndale Maestro Blue - Fonterra Brands NZ

Foodtown Woolworths Champion European Style Cheese Award
Kapiti NZ Parmesan - Fonterra Brands NZ

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Champion Export Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi - Fonterra Brands NZ

New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi - Fonterra Brands NZ

Hospitality Magazine Champion Cheesemaker
Keven Saywell, cheesemaker at Fonterra Eltham


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