Thursday, 08 September 2016 00:55

‘Clean and green’ not so important – expert

Written by  Pam Tipa
Rabobank vegetable analyst Cindy van Rijswick. Rabobank vegetable analyst Cindy van Rijswick.

Consumers will buy New Zealand produce based on taste, price and convenience; the ‘clean, green’ image may not be so much a factor, says a visiting European expert.

Asked by Rural News if NZ had the clean, green image it hoped it did, Rabobank’s senior fruit vegetable and floriculture analyst Cindy van Rijswick said she was “not sure about that”.

“Maybe compared to a few other countries, but I don’t think that’s what drives people choosing a certain product,” she says.

“When people buy products they look at the taste, price and convenience. Those are the most important consumer drivers.”

Visiting recently from Rabobank’s global headquarters in the Netherlands, van Rijswick says NZ’s fruit and vegetable sector is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities arising from changing international horticulture markets. There are not huge opportunities in Europe, however, except perhaps for kiwifruit, apples and berries.

The opportunity for NZ is global.

“It would be good to diversify markets as there is so much competition in the world globally. A lot of companies are already doing that.”

Rabobank has not done specific studies on whether NZ’s horticultural boom will last. And she warns that whenever there is a boom, people always start expanding their businesses, bringing a lot more supply.

“NZ should definitely be aiming for the higher end market. There is not much growth in the lower end market; all the growth is in the higher end.

“The consumer trends in Europe are similar to what is happening in the US and will continue in Australia and NZ. People are shifting to higher value, premium foods.”

Europe has many discount supermarkets taking market share but she does not know whether they will enter the NZ market because it is a small market for them.

“What you do see is online retailers and that will happen here. It depends on the type of products. Online provides a lot of opportunities for selling products. Whereas NZ producers have only a few options for selling, [by selling online] domestically you are not dependent only on the two largest retailers.”

The consumer trends are very varied. “Some days they will buy a lot of cheap stuff, others expensive stuff. A lot of new products are coming on the market and this trend will only speed up.”

Do we have things to learn from Europe in production techniques?

“I think actually NZ produces food very well; you are very adaptive to new technology.

“The export growers such as apples and kiwifruit in particular are very well on top of it. The vegetables growers may have labour and cost saving technologies they could take from Europe.”

Where do we need to learn?

“Actually I don’t think there is so much to learn. I think NZ is doing a good job.”

Efficiency may be where we could make the most advances, says van Rijswick, especially in marketing the products.

During this, her first time in NZ, she sees positive thinking here in the horticulture sector.

“In Europe there is a little less positivity; it is good to be in such a positive environment.”

More like this

Country’s backbone performs

New Zealand's primary sector has added steel to the country’s economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recently released report.

Carbon zero milk

Fonterra has joined forces with a supermarket chain to deliver what it claims is NZ’s first carbon zero milk.

Winners committed to environment

It's not the first time Fonterra’s John Wilson Memorial Trophy recipients, Nick and Nicky Dawson have been recognised for their sustainability efforts.

Hort exports worth $6.2 billion in 2019

New Zealand horticulture exports reached a record-breaking $6.2 billion in the year ending June 2019 – an increase of $720 million on the previous year.



Limited feed puts ewes at risk

Severe feed shortages in parts of the country mean many ewes are on a nutritional knife-edge heading into lambing and could be at risk of developing metabolic disorders.

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped him getting out and about in difficult environments.


A ticking time bomb

Our dairy industry risks being exposed to a ‘ticking time bomb’ of unethical players unlawfully passing off New Zealand-made and…

Nervous wait for winter

The unknown of what winter will bring is very much on the mind of the Hawkes Bay Rural Support Trust…

Be careful, Potatoes NZ!

Moves by the NZ potato industry to have anti-dumping tariffs imposed on European imports could play into the hands of…

China keeps dairy prices high

Whole milk powder (WMP) prices are now sitting above pre-Covid-19 levels and New Zealand farmers can thank a resurging Chinese…

Machinery & Products

Hydrogen excavator a first

While most motive industries are focused on hybrid or EV power plants, JCB has developed the construction industry’s first hydrogen-powered…

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped…

HP and digital tech combo

The latest New Holland T8 GENESIS is said to capitalise on the productive combinations of Stage V horsepower and digital…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter