Oct 20, 2022
Consumption of New Zealand velvet will continue to increase in the medium-term, according to DINZ market manager, Rhys Griffiths. He brought the positive message back to DFA branch chairs in an upbeat presentation after a recent market visit to South Korea.
Griffiths and DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat had 17 meetings with contacts over their week-long visit in late September. Those confirmed for them again that working with companies who are investing in innovative food and Korean medicine products in South Korea, which consumes around 60 percent of New Zealand’s velvet, remains the right strategy.
As well as the existing and growing category of health products, “there are new opportunities coming around the corner,” he reported.
There is more investment into new products and more research in the pipeline, both in the healthy foods and also Korean medicine sectors.
During the visit Moffat signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CEO of a big Korean medicine company. In addition, DINZ organised for the New Zealand Ambassador to host a dinner at his residence in Seoul for the CEO of Yuan Care, a subsidiary of Korea’s largest pharmaceutical company.
Another company they visited had developed an innovative online service to prepare and dispense bespoke prescriptions from Korean Medicine Doctors. They pick the herbs and products – including stipulating the part of the dried New Zealand velvet stick the sliced velvet must come from – package up the prescriptions for individual patients and distribute them to the homes of Koreans nationwide.
“To put the company in perspective, they are 10 percent of our industry, have aspirations to get bigger and to grow rapidly into new innovative markets,” said Griffith.
“We have a great story to tell too,” he added. Customers are promoting the ‘NZness’ of their products and New Zealand velvet is getting more coverage. will start to engage soon in some consumer promotional activity.
China, on the other hand, was still experiencing difficulty with economic uncertainty and Covid lockdowns, Griffiths reported.
The current level of unprocessed velvet stock in the market could be “a little bit more than the usual” but not unexpected, he reported.
Meanwhile, DINZ is exploring potential in other Asian markets.
New joint promotion activity in Taiwan targeting Father’s Day with the Cheon Nok product in July went very well, with sales volumes lifting significantly over the previous year.
A five-year programme will be starting in Vietnam soon and exploratory work will commence next year to better understand opportunities in Japan.
Balancing all the market indicators, especially with the growing Korean healthy food markets and logistics issues for Russian velvet, Griffiths believes “Consumption of New Zealand velvet will continue to increase in the medium-term.”