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Jim Sutton Speech - NZ Juice Association

Office of Hon Jim Sutton Speech Notes 29 October 2001

NZ Juice Association logo launch, Auckland


President Eric Wilson, Ladies and Gentlemen: thank you for the invitation to be here this morning.

I welcome your industry's initiative to inform consumers and to assure them that they are drinking exactly what the label says they are drinking.

These days, consumers are a lot more picky about what they eat and drink. As suppliers, you cannot just give consumers what you want to give them ? you have to provide what consumers want to eat.

Food safety concerns are common. Consumers want to be guaranteed that what they are eating and drinking is safe, and fulfils their other needs to be healthy, free of preservative, or any other requirements.

This logo and the voluntary code of practice associated with it is aimed at ensuring truth in labelling. The Compliance Standard Logo will demonstrate to the trade and consumers that they can have full confidence in products, which carry the logo.

It's an important part of industry self-regulation and I welcome the initiative.

I'm told your association includes fruit juice manufacturers, processors, distributors and associated companies. All up, you are responsible for about 95 per cent of all New Zealand's retail sales of fruit juice.

Those sales total more than $150 million, excluding exports, so this is a significant move.

Fruit juice sales have shown strong growth over the past five years with annual consumption increases of approximately 9% per annum.

New Zealand consumption per capita is still significantly behind other more mature markets such as the United States and Australia with NZ consuming approximately one quarter of the USA and one third of Australian consumption. This indicates strong and sustainable growth opportunities for the New Zealand Industry in future years ? and another reason for your industry to demonstrate its willingness to vouch for your product and to be audited on that.

As part of the Compliance Standard logo, fruit juice products will be audited by an independent agency on a regular basis.

That agency will buy the juices from supermarkets and other ordinary retail outlets, just the way consumers would. They'll then test the products, and will use a rigorous system of checks, and report back to ensure that the products are up to scratch and worthy of the compliance mark.

Ladies and Gentlemen: All consumers want to buy food that is safe to eat, and we legislate to ensure that here in New Zealand.

But some consumers want to buy food produced in specific ways. I am a firm believer in the customer being king, and I am delighted to see your association working to produce an audited system where consumers can be sure that they are buying juice containing exactly what they want their juice to contain.

Congratulations, and I wish you every success with this initiative.

Thank you.

ENDS

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