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For the first time ever, Fiji had its own space dedicated to Fijian products at the Food Show in Auckland from 25th to 28th July, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

The Auckland Food Show is the largest food and beverage show in New Zealand with 30,000 attendees visiting across the four days. Supported by the Fiji Trade Commission to New Zealand, six Fijian companies exhibited at the show promoting, sampling and selling their products to Kiwis.

“We’re very proud to be able to support these companies and give Fiji a platform at a large scale event in New Zealand alongside many of the country’s leading brands,” said the Fiji Trade Commission Trade & Investment Manager, Peter Rudd. “We feel the companies we chose are able to compete with their New Zealand peers and have real potential in the food and beverage market here.”

The companies included Bula Coffee, Fijiana Cacao, Vai Wai, Pan Pac, Punjas and Fiji Agromarketing. Many brands, such as Bula Coffee and Fijiana Cacao, are not currently available in any New Zealand retail outlets and used the opportunity to promote to distributors along with the public. 

For Fijiana Cacao founder and CEO, Tomo Zukoshi, the Food Show helped him to gauge the public’s perception of his products and how Fijiana Cacao should position themselves in New Zealand.

“It was great to interact with the public and carry out market research. Kiwis have been very responsive and open minded to recommend where they would expect to find our product.” Marketing Director Cate Pleass from Vai Wai water said “The Food Show represents a fantastic opportunity to meet with those in the New Zealand beverages trade and to gauge opinion of the crowd, who have been overwhelmingly positive on the taste, packaging, quality and sustainability of our artisan water.” 

With over 300 exhibitors at the Food Show, the Fiji exhibition managed to stand out by going for a modern relaxed, friendly Fiji theme and surprising the attendees, as many were unaware of the extensive range of food and drinks available from Fiji. 

Rajiv Prasad, GM of Pan Pac, distributers of Fiji Gold, Fiji Bitter and RUM Co. of Fiji products, explained, “Many New Zealanders know about our products but simply haven’t had the chance to taste them. We’ve been receiving very positive feedback on our beverages at this event and it’s great that many Kiwis are excited to buy them and share with their family and friends.”   

JPunjaNZ Sales Executive, Gerish Punja, echoed the statement as their products have been on New Zealand shelves for years and the Food Show offered the opportunity to promote them to people outside their typical consumer base. “The feedback has been highly positive in regards to the quality, with many comparing them favourably to their New Zealand equivalents.” 

Many smaller companies including Bula Coffee also found it useful to attend as they were able to meet and survey other similar products in the New Zealand market.  The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) was very popular too, being the only stand at the event to sample and sell kava. AMA Commodity Development Eroni Qama stated, “the public have been very responsive to the quality of the kava.

“We learnt a lot about the New Zealand market and the importance of value adding such as packaging and design.”

Glenn Baker

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


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