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Eighteen of New Zealand’s top F&B brands will jointly sell premium products to China’s growing league of high-end consumers following a landmark partnership with e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The brands have joined forces to create New Zealand Food Basket Ltd which will launch Alibaba’s first Country Flagship Store on the Tmall Fresh e-commerce platform this week. 

New Zealand Food Basket confirmed an initial group of nine brands – Pic’s, Babich Wines, Vogel’s, Rockit™ apple, Future Cuisine, Pāmu, Zealong Tea Estate, Fiordland Lobster and Oha Honey – will begin sales through the New Zealand Country Flagship Store on Tmall Fresh from April 18. 

A further nine brands – Zespri, Sanford, Kāpiti, Lewis Road Creamery, Sealord, Pure South (Alliance Group), Shott Beverages, New Zealand Wild Catch, and Cherri – will begin sales in the marketplace in June. 

“This agreement creates a single doorway that directly connects us to affluent Chinese consumers. It will significantly improve our reach and shorten the supply chain in a way that each brand simply couldn’t achieve alone,” says Nicola O’Rourke (pictured), chairperson of New Zealand Food Basket.

For example, in a test live-stream targeted promotion this week, Tmall Fresh received 1200 orders for a New Zealand product in two minutes on the New Zealand Country Flagship Store. Normal sales for the same product in China average 200 units per month.

O’Rourke says Alibaba had committed to partnering to market and promote the New Zealand Country Flagship Store, providing special access for 200 products in the New Zealand Food Basket to participate in targeted promotions and campaigns. The partnership will also allow New Zealand Food Basket brands to explore other opportunities via Alibaba’s New Retail sales channels.

“It’s no secret that even big, successful New Zealand companies can struggle to get brand recognition on Chinese e-commerce platforms,” says Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane. “A collective approach, with Alibaba’s backing, is a huge opportunity.”

“It’s an outstanding group of Kiwi food brands,” says Pic Picot, founder of Pic’s Peanut Butter. “This will help all of us build a network that’s easy to use.”  

New Zealand Food Basket says uniting the companies under a common New Zealand brand story, with support from NZTE and a unique Fernmark license, will build trust among Chinese consumers who prioritise food safety and quality.

Maggie Zhou, Alibaba Group’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand,says, “as Chinese consumers’ demand for high-quality imported produce continues to grow, New Zealand producers have a unique opportunity to leverage the country’s strong country brand to market their produce.  Alibaba is delighted to see New Zealand leading the way with this innovative initiative in partnership with our marketplaces.”

The project is the latest to be facilitated under NZTE’s Coalition activities.

Glenn Baker

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


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