Business

Local demand for NZ food and craft beer growing

Local demand for NZ food and craft beer growing
Mr Hartaj Sewa Singh, Director of New Zealand Natural (far left), and Laura Grey, Acting High Commissioner of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (third from left), posing for a photo at Food Connection Singapore: Food & Sustainability – The Game Changer, on May 18, 2017. Photo: Esther Leong/TODAY
Published: 7:40 PM, May 18, 2017
Updated: 7:47 PM, May 18, 2017

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans have an increasingly wide range of options to choose from, in terms of food choices. New Zealand food producers are all out to lure local consumers with a keen focus on food safety and sustainability beyond just nutrition and taste.

The demand for fresh food including fruit and honey from the country down under is on the rise, with exports to Singapore up over 20 per cent in the past year, Ms Hayley Horan, New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner to Singapore said on Thursday (May 18) at a trade show organised by the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Singapore is currently New Zealand’s eighth largest export partner with goods exports of over NZ$1.1 billion (S$1.06 billion) in the year to June 2016 – an increase of 10 per cent from the past year.

“New Zealand vineyards and breweries are increasingly exporting their beverages around the world, including to Singapore which is currently the largest market in South-east Asia for New Zealand’s wine, while imports of our craft beer are also growing here,” said Ms Horan.

The trade event showcased a range of eco-healthy foods products including free-range EcoEggs, artisan water, premium juices, lemonade and organic peanut butter besides wine and craft beer. Many of the country’s key producers were on hand to provide more information and “taste tours” of their niche products.

New Zealand is a trusted supplier of “high quality and safe” food products to consumers in more than 100 countries, according to food suppliers from the country. Singapore in particular is a potential market given the consumers here not only have a natural inclination towards high-end premium products but also the financial means to buy them.

“Singapore is a key market for premium products as consumers here actively seek and readily recognise food products that offer health benefits. They also trust our products for being safe and sustainably sourced. We are increasing our presence here,” said Ms Afsaneh Howey, sales and marketing director at ViBERi, an organic blackcurrant producer with a portfolio of food products.

In a panel discussion featuring research experts and representatives of companies exporting and importing New Zealand produce, the panellists explored the overarching theme of food sustainability. The speakers shared insights on the challenges and trends impacting the food and beverage landscape in Singapore, including the changing consumer demands towards foods that are not only nutritious and tasty, but also safe and sustainable.

In line with Singapore’s vision to be food secure, the Singapore Government last week announced that it would tender out new plots of agricultural land for the first time in decades. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong urged local farmers to adopt new technology for high-tech sustainable farming.