Eighteen of New Zealand’s most respected food and beverage 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 in April launched Alibaba’s first Country Flagship Store on the Tmall Fresh e-commerce platform. Fiordland Lobster is a foundation member.
An initial group of nine market-ready brands – Wild Legend, Pic’s, Babich Wines, Vogel’s, Rockit Apple, Future Cuisine, Pāmu, Zealong Tea Estate, and Oha Honey – began sales through the New Zealand Country Flagship Store on Tmall Fresh from April 18.
“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,” said Nicola O’Rourke, Chairperson of New Zealand Food Basket Ltd.
She said 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, such as the Hema stores that already carry Wild Legend lobsters.
“It’s no secret that even big, successful New Zealand companies can struggle to get brand recognition on Chinese e-commerce platforms,” said 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,” said Pic Picot, founder of Pic’s Peanut Butter. “This will help all of us build a network that’s easy to use.”
Uniting the companies under a common New Zealand brand story, with support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (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, said, “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.”