New Zealand success at NRA Show 2008

Wednesday 21 May 2008, 5:58PM
By Pete Hodgson

Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson welcomed the success of New Zealand food and beverage companies who attended the National Restaurant Association Show (NRA), held in Chicago this week.

The NRA show (which finishes 20 May or this afternoon NZ time) is North America’s largest gathering of foodservice professionals and attracts 2,200 exhibiting companies and more than 70,000 restaurant and food service visitors annually.

The New Zealand stand at NRA follows Food Hotel China 2007 and Foodex Japan 2008 and completes the first series of three key trade shows held in response to the recommendations of the Food and Beverage Taskforce. The stand featured 18 food and beverage companies and three industry organisations representing meat, seafood, wine, horticulture and specialty sectors.

The New Zealand stand and the companies' products generated significant interest from day one which prompted a visit by the show's organisers who were keen to find out why so many delegates were talking about the Kiwi presence.

The United States is New Zealand’s second largest trading partner and accounts for more than half New Zealand’s food and beverage exports, at a value of US$1.94 billion annually, Pete Hodgson said.

“I think the positive response we have had at the NRA Show highlights how much New Zealand food and beverage companies have to offer,” he said.

“Our products are world-class and this event provides an excellent opportunity for exhibitors to engage with some key decision makers from the restaurant and hospitality industry in the US.”

Led by NZTE, the Food and Beverage Taskforce is implementing activities which will deliver assistance to New Zealand’s food and beverage exporters in order to overcome some fundamental challenges including the relatively small size of New Zealand firms, the cost of establishing new branded products in international markets and New Zealand’s distance from markets.