Export the main course for dessert company
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.”