Customers embrace Asian food section
Eager foodies have been flocking to an Upper Harbour supermarket for their latest salted delicacy: cooked duck eggs.
Albany Pak ‘n Save sold out of duck eggs around a month ago when Chinese internet newsite Skykiwi.com alerted their readers to the product in the supermarket’s new Asian food section.
Since late 2016, the store has added 75 new Asian food products into their range.
They are also stocked in their own section, which includes Japanese, South-East Asian and mainland Chinese fare.
Albany Pak n’ Save store manager Sam Cockroft said being an owner-operated store means they have been able to tailor their range to what customers want.
‘‘We know we’re never going to be the Asian grocer down the road. We can’t carry that type of range.
‘‘But we’re really trying to look at what’s the stuff that’s meaningful for people… through talking to our suppliers, through talking to people in our store,’’ he said.
Merchandising manager Yew Hsin Cheng said he wanted to create a range that would appeal to the Asian demographic by stocking items they would seek out in an Asian supermarket.
The most popular foods so far had been whole fish, salted duck eggs, Panko breadcrumbs, Kewpie Mayonnaise and Lee Kum Kee soy sauce.
According to the 2013 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings, over a quarter of the Upper Harbour resident population identified with an Asian ethnicity at 29 per cent. In 2006, this was 22 per cent.
Of the Asian ethnic groups, Chinese remain the largest subgroup at more than 14 per cent of the total population in Upper Harbour.
Cheng said the section may expand with time to include other ethnic foodstuffs, such as Korean and Filipino products. One barrier to stocking foreign foodstuffs was the labelling requirements, he said.
‘‘I think this range will continually evolve as more and more of the ethnic suppliers see supermarkets as a genuine outlet.’’
Cockroft said diversity meant approaches to cooking had also changed.
‘‘This adds to that ability for people to come do their weekly shop and... go home and try something new.’’
Albany Pak n’ Save store merchandising manager Yew Hsin Cheng checks out the Panko breadcrumbs.