Fresh U.S. pork cuts were on display for the first time at Fine Food New Zealand, the country’s largest food and beverage trade show. The biennial event was held recently in Auckland, with USMEF’s participation made possible through support from the Pork Checkoff and the USDA Market Access Program.
Earlier this year, the list of U.S. pork products eligible for New Zealand was expanded to include unprocessed fresh/frozen pork in consumer-ready packages of less than 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds). For many years, exports to New Zealand were limited to cooked and canned products, as well as fresh/frozen pork that had to be shipped to a designated facility in New Zealand for cooking. These restrictions, which also applied to several other pork-exporting countries serving New Zealand, were imposed due to concerns about porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). New Zealand authorities eased these restrictions in 2012, but the revised regulations were the subject of a lengthy court challenge that finally ended in December.
“USMEF has been preparing to introduce retail-ready pork in New Zealand for some time, and it has been well-received in the market,” said USMEF-ASEAN Director Sabrina Yin, who oversees marketing efforts for U.S. pork in New Zealand and Australia. “We’re excited to offer a broader range of products here, but market access has also been expanded for several other pork-exporting countries. So New Zealand is an extremely competitive market, with many new suppliers looking to penetrate the retail sector.”
Fine Food New Zealand attracted 220 exhibitors from 30 countries, with total attendance for the three-day event estimated at 6,500. Cooked pork samples available at the USMEF booth included sausage crumbles, rib patties, barbecue glazed pork patties, meatballs, bratwurst, smoke sausage links, back ribs, loin and pre-cooked bacon.
“Distributors attending the trade show expressed strong interest in the products displayed,” said Yin. “Foodservice operators were especially interested in the pre-cooked bacon, and several inquired about which distributors in New Zealand would be carrying the product.”
U.S. pork was also featured prominently at a trade reception hosted in conjunction Fine Food New Zealand. Along with USMEF, other host organizations for this event were FAS-Wellington, the California Grape & Tree Fruit League and Northwest Cherry Growers.
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