Ex­port the main course for dessert com­pany

Exporter - - COVER STORY -

The New Zealand Dessert Com­pany (NZDC), based in the Bay of Plenty, just 15 kilo­me­tres down the road from the Port of Tau­ranga, is a busi­ness set up to suc­ceed in the ex­port game from day one.

When its pro­duc­tion plant was opened in April 2012, the com­pany al­ready had sales and cus­tomers in place, mak­ing prod­ucts un­der li­cence from the orig­i­nal man­u­fac­turer in the Nether­lands. As well as con­tract work for Food­stuff's Pams brand and the Emma Jane brand, NZDC will also be mar­ket­ing its own branded prod­ucts.

“This busi­ness was ini­tially for the start-up of op­por­tu­ni­ties at hand, mean­ing cheese­cakes, fruit crum­bles, Bavar­ian mousse cakes and so on, all deep-frozen, for re­tail cus­tomers in Aus­tralia and New Zealand,” ex­plains di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing Kevin Cox. “The scale of op­por­tu­ni­ties is enor­mous when con­sid­er­ing the ex­pan­sion of trade into South­east Asia.”

Open­ing the pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity was “a mod­er­ate in­vest­ment”, says Cox, and the suc­cess of the busi­ness will come down to hav­ing “ex­cel­lent people with an ex­cel­lent at­ti­tude”.

Al­though the NZDC plant was de­signed for ex­port, there have also been op­por­tu­ni­ties for do­mes­tic sales which have shifted fo­cus for the busi­ness in the short-term.

“We now have our dairy ex­port li­cense and ha­lal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion so are well po­si­tioned to have a con­trolled roll-out to se­lect Asian and Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries,” says Cox. “We en­vis­age that by the end of 2014 we will be on the shelves in four Asian coun­tries with oth­ers be­ing rolled out in 2015.”

Aus­tralia has been the first ex­port fo­cus – Cox says there are a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties there and so far he's not ex­pe­ri­enced any prob­lems with su­per­mar­ket ac­cess. “How­ever, with the high Kiwi dol­lar, ex­pen­sive freight charges both across the Tas­man and through­out the con­ti­nent, it can be a chal­lenge.

“By keep­ing over­heads low, man­ag­ing the sup­plier base to en­sure good pric­ing, and in­tro­duc­ing more au­to­ma­tion to the as­sem­bly lines, we're able to com­pete with Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ers. “But this can also be to our detri­ment as the lo­cal com­pa­nies then just cut mar­gins to re­tain mar­ket share. So en­sur­ing your prod­uct has a unique ‘twist' or slight mod­i­fi­ca­tion to make it ei­ther more pre­mium or with a strong story to tell, can as­sist for new list­ings.”

Look­ing ahead, Cox, who has a back­ground in the air­line in­dus­try, says the plan is to even­tu­ally have three other pro­duc­tion sites, each fo­cused on dif­fer­ent ar­eas of man­u­fac­ture. “As we are now well po­si­tioned to tackle the re­tail mar­kets we ex­pect to add air­line cater­ing and foodser­vice op­por­tu­ni­ties to our port­fo­lio.”

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