Cookie Time Group has produced its first export order for Costco Japan, on the back of a Costco relationship bolstered by the retailer opening its first New Zealand store.
Coinciding with the Costco Japan production run, Cookie Time also recently welcomed New Zealand’s incoming Trade Commissioner to Japa, Kylie Archer, for a site visit to discuss Japan growth opportunities.
New Zealand’s goods exports to Japan reached a record high of NZ$4.1 billion for the 12 months ending August 2022, an annual increase of 19 percent. And Japan fully relaxed its COVID-19 border restrictions on 11 October, one of the last major economies to do so.
Guy Pope-Mayell (pictured), Cookie Time Managing Director, says Cookie Time is increasingly becoming an export driven business, spearheaded by its Japan operations.
“We’ve been in Japan successfully for more than 10 years, through the Cookie Bar retail store in Tokyo, and wholesaling to large convenience chains. This Costco Japan export order will further bump up our profile and presence in Japan, with an initial 13,000 mega sized cookie pouches running off the production line this week.”
Pope-Mayell says Cookie Time had been in talks with Costco as the retailer sharpened its focus on the New Zealand market in preparation for its store opening.
“People talk about the Costco effect in terms of boosting supermarket competition. For us the effect has been equally positive in terms of Costco really engaging with New Zealand manufacturers and delivering opportunities in Costco offshore.
“We’re actively exporting or opening up more than 10 countries presently from the US and Canada through to the Asia Pacific region. This Costco Japan deal adds another layer to our export business, and opens doors to Costco’s throughout the region,” Pope-Mayell says.
Kylie Archer’s visit to Cookie Time was part of a programme to spend time with as many New Zealand exporters to Japan as possible before she relocates to Tokyo.
“Cookie Time is an iconic New Zealand brand that has been embraced by the Japanese market, with the Cookie Bar being a high profile attraction in Tokyo’s famous Harajuku shopping district. I’m greatly excited by the possibilities for Cookie Time in Japan as it expands its export offer, and I’m thrilled that I’ll be on hand to see the first Costco Japan order get underway,” Archer says.
Pope-Mayell says Japan is a highly attractive market for New Zealand exporters for a number of reasons.
“Japan is the third largest economy in the world and has a real love for Kiwi culture and brands. Being a premium market, exporters can sell products at reasonable margins, and consumers love products that are new and innovative,” Pope-Mayell says.
On top of that, Cookie Time’s Cookie Muncher character has proved a valuable kawaii (cute) asset.
“We know the Cookie Muncher character is a favourite with adults and children alike, and this has travelled phenomenally well in the Japan market. The character has slotted seamlessly into the pop culture aesthetic and been integral to building brand recognition and sales.”