Lincoln University agrifood marketing expert Dr Nic Lees says we need to make more of being second when it comes to international food ratings.
Research from Lincoln University and the University of Florida, showed that most western consumers view New Zealand food as the next best thing to their local products.
However, Dr Lees said we are not taking advantage of this positive perception of the quality and safety of our food products.
“Unfortunately we are missing out on this premium because many overseas consumers are unaware their food originates in New Zealand.”
Dr Lees said his own research showed that the majority of New Zealand's exports are unbranded commodities that enter the manufacturing or food service sectors. This mean our products are frequently not identified to the consumer as being of New Zealand origin.
“The lack of branding and marketing means we give away the potential to take advantage of how consumers see our food products.”
Consumers in the US rated NZ beef as a close second to local US beef. In the UK, New Zealand lamb was seen as just as good as local lamb.
“While the growing preference for local food is a challenge for our food exports, there is also a significant opportunity to use this positive view to capture greater value.”
Where New Zealand products are branded they capture a significant premium. This is evident with New Zealand wine and kiwifruit.
The price per litre of New Zealand wine is second only to France, and New Zealand kiwifruit exports are sold at a significant premium over Italian or Chilean products, Dr Lees said.
“If we can replicate this with other food exports then we can move away from the current focus on increasing the volume of agricultural products and focus instead on increasing value.”