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Setting ourselves apart

Land/Farming

Hawke’s Bay is the Tuscany of New Zealand and we need to ensure we are promoting ourselves on par – as a premium growing region. We have some of the purest, fertile growing areas in the world and amongst the most valuable agricultural land anywhere. This allows us to produce top quality food products – so we need to play to this strength!

John Bostock09 February 2017

BB33

Our Bostock New Zealand customers all around the world are demanding premium produce. There is no doubt that our pure New Zealand brand gives us a competitive economic advantage. Our business, which employs over 800 people at the peak of the season, is one of many in Hawke’s Bay’s thriving food export economy.

But the reality is that New Zealand is never going to feed the world. We will only ever feed a small proportion of the world. So we have to focus on our point of diff erence and that is off ering high-end, premium products.

We will never be able to mass produce like the large scale operators across the US and Europe, so it’s pointless trying to compete on big scale.

No one will reward us for polluting our waterways, treating our staff badly and using genetic modification in our food production. But we will be rewarded for using sustainable practices, showing compassion towards our staff and producing our food as naturally as we can.

In Hawke’s Bay we have some of the highest value agricultural land, but our labour, our shipping and our input costs make us amongst the most expensive in the world.

No one will reward us for polluting our waterways, treating our staff badly and using genetic modification in our food production. But we will be rewarded for using sustainable practices, showing compassion towards our staff and producing our food as naturally as we can.

So it’s madness to try and compete on price or volume. We have to set ourselves apart, which means our focus needs to be on premium quality branding and exclusivity.

I believe it is more important to invest in branding and marketing than buying a new tractor or the neighbour’s property. Strong branding will give you better returns in the long run.

Over the last few years the apple industry has been getting the recipe right when it comes to food production. Successful export businesses are those which can control the process from the orchards or fi elds, all the way to the end customers. If we are going to add value, we need to control the supply chain as much as possible.

Our customers will reward us for this. They want to know exactly where their food has been produced. We can now trace an apple or an onion right back to the place it was grown and this adds huge value.

New Zealand is set to grow its largest ever export apple crop of 21.5 million cartons worth a record $800 million this season.

We are the first of New Zealand’s larger primary sectors to meet the Government’s challenge of doubling exports by 2025, and are well ahead of our own target of becoming a billion dollar industry by 2022.

In just four years New Zealand’s apple industry went from producing 16 million cartons in 2012 to 19.5 million cartons in 2016 and an expected 21.5 million cartons in 2017.

New Zealand grows the best and safest apples in the world and we have been officially ranked No 1 for international competitiveness against all our global market competitors two years running.

These results are largely due to clever marketing, sustainable growth, innovation, leadership and strategic vision, but most importantly controlling the supply chain. If you look at our fellow meat industry, we aren’t stand out performers when it comes to selling our meat internationally.

There is not enough clever marketing and not enough eff ective branding to pin New Zealand up as the best, sustainable and safest place in the world to grow beef and lamb. New Zealand farmers are so removed from their international markets and customers. Once the animals run out the farm gate, farmers sign off all care and responsibility and leave it up to the meat exporters.

In the horticulture industry we ensure we are following the journey, all the way to the end customer, because this means more control and profi tability.

The bottom line is that if you want to be on premium product shelves, you need control of the supply chain and you steer well clear of GM and any other tarnishing practices which could ruin the marketing advantage in Hawke’s Bay.

The fact is that GM foods are a failed proposition when it comes to high- value markets. Consumer rejection has driven GM foods grown today underground, to product lines that escape labelling like oils or animal feed.

This is as important for the organic business as it is for conventional produce and I know, because I export both.

Maintaining our GM Free status in Hastings is vital to attracting top dollar for Hawke’s Bay food products.

To date, genetic modification has been a non-event for high-value food production. Ninety-nine percent of all GM food which is grown in the world is in the Americas and is used in animal feed and in products that don’t need to be labelled – hardly a winning economic strategy.

The fact is that GM foods are a failed proposition when it comes to high-value markets. Consumer rejection has driven GM foods grown today underground, to product lines that escape labelling like oils or animal feed.

Bostock New Zealand has packaging that includes a certifi ed GMO Free sticker because it opens doors to premium markets and gives us as growers more security. There is tremendous economic leverage, branding and positioning by saying we are uniquely pure.

Bostock New Zealand is increasing exports to Japan, Korea, China the US and into Europe. We are continually looking to new markets, which pay premiums for uniquely pure food product.

Photo: Tim Whittaker

If we are going to add value to our food here in Hawke’s Bay we need to be able to tell the pure, green New Zealand story and market that to the world. This is where our focus should be concentrated.

John Bostock09 February 2017

BB33

2 responses to “Setting ourselves apart”

  1. P Kingi says:

    GM Free, Biodynamic, good stuff JB

    PKingi (Hedges Orchard)

  2. P Kingi says:

    GE Free, Biodynamic, good stuff JB

    PKingi (Hedges Orchard)

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