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South Island icecream maker Deep South is scooping up market share in the North Island – and also in Australia, Japan and China, according to

In December last year the business was sending one export container overseas every six or seven weeks, now it’s sending one every three weeks.

“This time next year it will hopefully be one a week,” director Mike Killick said.

At the moment exports represent only 7 or 8% of the company’s revenue, the remainder generated by New Zealand sales.

But the New Zealand icecream market was “saturated” and the company has hired an export manager to grow its exports revenue, particularly in China and Japan. The icecream maker already exports to both of those countries and is preparing for its first order from a new distributor in Harbin, in northern China, this week.

Stronger exports would help offset the seasonal fall in sales in the New Zealand winter.

The clean, green New Zealand image appealed to overseas customers, Killick said, and the business was currently fielding about five or six enquiries a week from interested distributors as far afield Libya.

Deep South has one factory in Invercargill and another in Hornby and historically most of its sales have been in Canterbury and South Canterbury.

The business had fared “poorly” in winter and was looking forward to improved sales in summer, Hopkins said.

“It’s been down, and we’re really lucky the uplift in exports has offset that.

Deep South is rebranding its icecream to enhance its image as a premium product.

The icecream’s 12% milk-fat content makes it creamier, and also more costly to manufacture than other icecreams, but in supermarkets it was still seen as on par with rival icecream brands.

That is a perception the business owners hope the rebranding will change.

The rebranded ice cream, featuring images of New Zealand landscapes with the slogan “we make our icecream here” will arrive in North Island supermarket freezers for the first time this week, and in the South Island in two.

The aim is to present the icecream as a bit fancy, Hopkins said.

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