NZ Exporter: Chinese consumers don’t want to taste NZ products
A New Zealand exporter of fresh milk to China has told TV One’s Q+A programme that Chinese consumers won’t try a supermarket promotion sample of her dairy products once they find out they’re from New Zealand.
Julia Xu, co-founder of Oravida Ltd, an exporter of NZ dairy, meat, wines and fruit into China, says Chinese consumers have not forgotten the recent DCD or botulism milk powder scares.
“We ask consumers to come, customers to come and taste our milk, and we have found that even today a lot of consumers will pick up the cup, and they will ask, ‘Where is the milk from?’ And when we say it’s from NZ, they won’t even want to taste it. They will just put it back down. I think that even today when Fonterra came out and said it was really a mistake; it wasn’t really a contamination, people still remembered and remembered that as a contamination, not necessarily knowing what exactly had happened thereafter,” Ms Xu says.
And she says NZ dairy’s reputation as delivering the best products in the world has been damaged.
“There’s a loss of confidence that Chinese have always viewed NZ dairy products as one of the best products in the world. And yet continuously there are problems after problems. We have had DCD in February, and then again we had the Fonterra incident in August, and then a couple of weeks later, we had another Westland problem. So there seems to be the frequency at which the problems are happening a little bit too often, and that seems to be constantly reminding the consumers that NZ dairy products are really not as safe or trustworthy as they appear to be, and that is very damaging.”
Ms Xu says the Government could do more by engaging in bi-lateral talks to remove some of the strict testing regimes instigated by China following the recent scare, which is taking its toll on her business in terms of cost and delays in delivering her products to the China markets.
Ms Xu says Oravida is the first company to export fresh milk to China, a country which typically relies on milk powder.