New Zealand (NZ) premium ice cream industry is now seeking to expand further into overseas market, after encouraging findings from new research released under the Food and Beverage Information Project run by government agencies.
The research highlighted opportunities to expand ice cream exports to Australia, Asia and the UK. It suggests that premium ice cream could potentially follow the global success of premium wine and honey exports.
NZ Economic Development Minister, Stuart Nash commented that “Ice cream is produced in almost every region in New Zealand and there are around 48 local manufacturers.”
The existing challenge is basically to capitalise on NZ strong global position in dairy exports to attract lucrative orders for its premium ice cream products.
Currently, New Zealand enjoys tariff-free access for ice cream under a number of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in the Asia Pacific region. This includes tariff-free access to China, New Zealand’s largest ice cream export market, under the New Zealand-China FTA.
Nash said, “Consumers are interested in ice cream made of milk from sheep, deer, buffalo or goats. Plant-based ice cream from oat milk, coconut milk or soy milk also have a growing global market. Gelato and sorbet utilise the best of New Zealand’s abundant horticultural produce.”
Nash commented that even artisan producers have room to expand overseas as they have innovated with organic, seasonal and rich flavors such as a2 milk, sea salt, peanut butter, hemp, and turmeric amongst others.
Nash added that the free trade deal between NZ and Britain agreed in principle in 2021 holds great potential for ice cream and other dairy exports.
The report also highlighted that due to the pandemic, there is growing consumer interest in healthy, sustainable, low-carbon or vegan food, and quite a number of premium ice cream producers in NZ are already focusing on these qualities since pre-covid times.
In addition, NZ offers quality raw ingredients and low production costs coupled with a highly skilled workforce. It has also gained significant ‘trust’ by global consumers for its dairy products.
The report suggested that ice cream producers should build on existing strengths in the dairy export supply chain, target the premium market and formulate ‘unique Kiwi flavors’ to reach overseas markets.