Wild weather, rampant inflation, staff shortages, cost of living crises, and all following years of COVID restrictions: there’s a lot going on in the world, much of which has a direct impact on New Zealand’s food production, foodservice, food retail and hospitality industries.
Despite a seemingly endless series of challenges, the people who run these businesses across the country have proven more than resilient and adaptable and, in many instances, have shouldered new and unexpected burdens with indomitable spirit – and things are starting to look up.
That’s according to Deb Haimes, Sales & Event Manager for the forthcoming Fine Food New Zealand trade event, scheduled for 25-27 June in Auckland. She says interest in the event serves as a gauge of just how well the industry is coping – and so far, the signs are encouraging. “We’ve seen a rush of interest from our sponsors, exhibitors and delegate registrations which point to an industry in resurgence,” she says. “There’s no question that our industries have suffered some tough times, but there is a palpable sense that the worst is behind us, and it is onwards and upwards.”
So far, the Fine Food New Zealand event has secured the participation of more than 250 exhibitors, with delegate registrations for the trade-only event passing 5,000. This compares favourably with previous years, with Haimes saying the brisk rate of registrations from people across the country is evidence of an industry keen to get on with things.
The Fine Food New Zealand trade event is attracting international attention as suppliers to the food, beverage, foodservice, equipment and packaging industries look to enter or grow their presence in local markets. By the same token, the event serves international merchants seeking to take Kiwi products to far-flung markets and customers. “New Zealand is world-renowned for high-quality produce spanning everything from meat and dairy to wine and beer, seafood, and fruit and vegetables.”
Just one example is the locally farmed beef, lamb and venison marketed in Europe and around the world. Recognised as a premium offering, these exports earn some NZ$ 6 billion every year in foreign trade. Kiwi wines are increasingly recognised for their quality, with this industry worth just shy of $ 2 billion annually, according to New Zealand Winegrowers. Many locally produced foods are consistent winners on the world stage, with Pics Peanut Butter and Devonport Chocolates both holding ‘Best in the World’ recognition from the Great Taste Awards.
With so much going on, Haimes says smaller producers are encouraged to visit the event or consider exhibiting. “A lot of business happens on the floor of Fine Food New Zealand. We have international visitors looking for opportunities to find great Kiwi products and take them into their markets. Exhibiting at Fine Food New Zealand could be the key to cracking territories you haven’t even considered – but you have to be there for that to happen.”
Fine Food New Zealand is supported by partners including Tasman Liquor, Service Foods, Anchor, Gilmours Wholesale Food & Beverage, NZ Chefs Association, Bidfood, the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, FMCG Business, Hospitality Business, Baking New Zealand and Restaurant and Café.
The exhibition takes place at the Auckland Showgrounds from June 25-27. Attendance is FREE for trade delegates who register online. For more information or to register visit www.finefoodnz.co.nz.