Food Importers and Food Import Trends in New Zealand 2021

4 min read
Food Importers, Trends
4 min read

The food imported into New Zealand mirrors the consumers` increasing culturally diverse tastes, boosted by globalization. Despite the unique, secluded location in the Pacific Ocean,  the island country of New Zealand is home to 4,9 ethnically diverse population, majorly concentrated around the most populous cities: Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch or the capital Wellington.
Food importers in New Zealand are constantly on the look for partners who can provide new, unique food products, to enrich their portfolios and maintain the success of the international food segment. The sales value of food imported into New Zealand has risen by 15% from 2015 to 2019 when it amounted to US$42.2 billion.

Food exporters who desire to enter New Zealand will find a transparent, developed country, with confident buyers and a small but sophisticated market, with one of the most business-friendly climate worldwide, due to its past reforms to liberalise international trade and improve foreign investment.

Consumer demands & trends

New tastes

After the liberalisation of immigration, New Zealand`s culinary diversification have put the country on the map of food enthusiasts. Ethnic foods and ingredients, especially from the Asian, Indian, or South African cuisine is of steady high demand in New Zealand mirroring the population homesick feeling as well as intensified hunt for new tastes. Besides consumers increasingly sophisticated tastes, the food processors and the hospitality industry is also on the look for raw materials, especially during the tourist season. New Zealand`s growing wealth and thriving food tourism bring huge opportunities for any businessmen interested to invest, especially since many youngsters today are avid for unique food experiences.


Modern, fast-paced lifestyles translate into time-efficient and cost-effective ready to eat meals. With the recent panic stockpiling behaviour induced by the recent Covid-19 outbreak, the demand for processed foods, frozen products and frozen ready meals has spiked up the sales of these categories and remain forecasted to continue in the next years due to their convenience, long shelf life, and the safety feeling of eating at home. As hot beverages are a star segment in New Zealand, coffee and tea offer a great opportunity for exporters with unique products.

Accurate labels

The modern consumer goes beyond taste, affordability and convenience, thinking health is the new wealth. As food options are today more complex than ever, food labels need to be accurate and transparent about ingredients, their origin and quantity, allergens, storage instructions, preparation, nutritional values and animal and environment welfare.

About 25% of the country`s population is affected by a form of allergy, thus there a steady growing demand for food items free from allergens. Consumers in this category are the most attentive to what the label contains.

Healthy & premium foods

Due to a diversity of imported food available on the market, sedentary lifestyle and few regulations on junk food and drinks, many New Zealanders are trying to break free from the predilection towards processed food, to adopt healthier diets.

  • Many residents are now focused on foods with healthy properties like organic or fortified foods.
  • Plant-based food alternatives, including meat and dairy substitutes, has been a top category for clean eating in 2020.
  • Honey takes the spotlight due to its immunity-boosting, anti-bacterial properties.
  • Nuts, seeds, mixes and spreads based on these products have also become a consumer favourite, with significant sales growth due to snacking.
  • Rising home cooking has led to a growth in edible oils demand due to their healthy fat reputation.

As New Zeelanders have embraced the health and wellness lifestyle, many consumers have become conscious of the quality and the nutritional properties of the ingredients and the food they consume, leading to a sales growth of premium foodstuff and artisanal products, free of artificial flavours, excessive salt, sugars or other harmful additives.

Market structure

New Zealand`s market is structured into supermarkets, grocery stores, specialty stores and convenience stores in all major cities. Although supermarkets hold the supremacy for imported food, fast food outlets, the hospitality sector, cafes, or pubs are also contributing to food sales. Specialized stores like gourmet supermarkets have been gaining momentum and successfully attract high-income consumers who enjoy qualitative, artisanal products. Grocery e-commerce is annually the fastest-growing category online and most used as a complementary sales channel.

Most buyers prefer to be supplied from a local importer who also usually handles storage and distribution to supermarkets. Producers should consider taking part in international food events as food importers in New Zealander frequently connect with producers they meet through these occasions. Food exporters who desire to enter the New Zealand food market should also invest in advertising and sampling of their products.

In terms of competition, Australia is a major food supplier due to low transport cost and favorable economic relations, but consumer-oriented food items also come from Canada, United States, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Spain or Ireland.

3 Food Importers from New Zealand:

Neill Cropper & Company Ltd
Address: 4 Pacific Rise, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: +64 9-579 0963

Enso International Ltd
Address: 9 Stanley Street, Sydenham, Christchurch, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3-365 3654

Universal Trade Limited
Address: Po Box 69256, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: +64 9-813 9693

To get access to a list of more active food importers from New Zealand, you can access one of the BestFoodImporters databases.

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