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New Zealand is building a global reputation for premium F&B, but new research says work is required to keep us in the spotlight.

New Zealand’s reputation for premium food and beverage has grown in key markets, but the F&B export sector still needs to build awareness to counter ‘buy local’ trends and competition from other sources of high-end food products, according to NZTE research.

Wine, red meat and dairy led the charge as recognised premium products from New Zealand, according to research conducted by Kantar in April 2023 across Australia, China, Japan, the UK and the US.

Wine topped the recognition rankings – associated with New Zealand by 54 percent of the surveyed consumers, and particularly those in China, Australia, and the UK.

The findings are drawn from the fourth wave of research conducted to support NZTE’s ongoing ‘Made with Care’ campaign, which aims to drive awareness and preference for New Zealand as a source of premium food and beverage products.

Overall awareness of New Zealand premium offerings has risen, with 48 percent of survey respondents saying they associated New Zealand as a producer of premium food and beverage products, a lift from 41 percent in October last year.

However, other sources of premium F&B such as France and Italy were also increasingly recognised in the same export markets, indicating that New Zealand would need to keep its profile high through ongoing awareness-building to remain competitive.

The awareness gap remains wider in some markets than others. While Chinese and Australian consumers showed high awareness of New Zealand as a premium producer, awareness was lower in Japan and the US, and only moderate in the UK.

The research noted that awareness remains critical to help New Zealand build brand equity with global F&B consumers, who have varying levels of knowledge about New Zealand or what the country offers. This includes ensuring consumers understand what makes New Zealand products high-quality in order to build preference and encourage purchases.

“It’s pleasing to see awareness of New Zealand as a premium F&B source rising in key markets, especially among the most likely buyers of high-end products,” says Fiona Acheson, Head of Food, Beverage and Consumer Products at NZTE.

“The research shows we still need to work to keep awareness strong, but we’re in a much stronger position than three years ago, and the wider research insights will help exporters to make the most of the campaign’s success and turn it into ongoing preference and sales.”

Kantar’s research asked consumers which F&B exporting countries they associated with a range of attributes connected to premium products. Responses were then ranked to produce “leaderboards” of perceptions in each market, showing how New Zealand was seen in comparison to other sources of premium food and beverage.

Key perceptions insights included:

  • Across all markets surveyed, perceptions of taste and premium quality were the most important attributes for building consumer preference for particular F&B exporting countries. Products that were made with care, and from a place they trust, were also important considerations.
  • Although New Zealand was widely recognised for producing high-quality beef, lamb, and dairy products, as well as for commitment to sustainability and ethically produced food, New Zealand products fell behind competitor nations on great tasting and premium quality perceptions which are critical for turning awareness into preference.
  • Australian consumers had a strong preference for local products, leaving New Zealand competing with France and Italy over perceptions of taste and quality. However, New Zealand ranked second on most ‘premium’ attributes, and was strongly associated with premium dairy, beef and lamb, and wine.
  • Japanese consumers rated New Zealand highly for great tasting meat and high quality dairy, but overall showed a strong preference for local products, with New Zealand tending to lag in perceptions of taste and quality.
  • Many consumers thought most highly of locally produced products, including those in Australia, Japan and the United States. To sidestep rather than fight this strong local preference, New Zealand F&B exporters were encouraged to focus on what makes their premium products unique and different from local options, rather than “better” outright.
  • In contrast to “buy local” preferences in other markets, Chinese consumers ranked New Zealand ahead of other F&B producers on all high-impact premium attributes, including quality, food safety and nutrition – extending New Zealand’s lead from the last wave of research six months earlier.
  • Consumers in the UK ranked New Zealand very highly as a trusted source of premium food products, with high rankings for wine, beef and lamb. However, there was a need to drive trust, taste and nutrition perceptions of New Zealand products in the UK, all areas where European sources pulled ahead.
  • Like their UK counterparts, US consumers also ranked European countries as their most trusted sources for premium F&B, with New Zealand needing to work more for cut-through beyond beef and lamb.


The research also included a specific focus on marketing and purchase channels for premium F&B consumers, and gathered insights by market on how consumers discovered products and purchased them – including social and traditional media, word of mouth, and encountering products through restaurants or retail presence.

2,500 consumers were surveyed across five markets, with a focus on grocery shoppers and self-identified ‘foodies’ with high household incomes, defined as at or above the median household income for each market.

Launched in October 2020, Made with Care is intended to grow awareness, preference, and purchases of New Zealand F&B products, with research indicating that the campaign’s messaging around great taste, premium quality, and ethical production continues to resonate with consumers.

Overall, 37 percent of consumers surveyed in the latest research recognised Made with Care branding, with regional variations including strong upticks in Japan and China. Those familiar with the campaign were also more likely to consider buying New Zealand F&B products.

Across the five markets surveyed, comparisons to research in October 2022 showed an eight percent increase in consumers who had seen the campaign, a 19 perrcent increase in consumers who would consider New Zealand F&B products, and a 25 percent increase in consumers who specifically preferred New Zealand food and beverages.


A summary and link to the full research report is available online here.

Made with Care is a global campaign that aims to grow awareness, preference, and purchases of New Zealand F&B products. The campaign is delivered by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise – Te Taurapa Tūhono and was first launched in October 2020.

As of July 2023, Made with Care has achieved global reach of 186 million people through paid media, in-market promotions and online activity, as well as over 110 million views of its campaign video content.

Made with Care has also allowed NZTE’s international teams to maintain high-value consumer audiences for New Zealand food and beverage in key export markets, allowing exporters to target pre-validated groups of consumers who are most likely to buy New Zealand products.

NZTE publishes regular Made with Care updates for New Zealand businesses and other stakeholders – including a global activity overview, key campaign metrics and highlights from recent activity – on its campaign webpage: Made with Care

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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