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 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.

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