With a temperate climate, high rainfall, clean waters, fertile land and low population density, New Zealand is an ideal setting for producing quality foods and beverages. The result is some of the best-tasting dairy, meat, seafood, horticulture and wine the world has to offer.

We are a world leader in milk powder, butter, cheese, other dairy products, lamb, beef, apples, kiwifruit, wine, honey, rock lobster, infant formula and dairy-based processed foods. We are a generator of exciting new emerging products.

We export our food and beverages to all markets around the world with Asia now the largest destination region. New Zealand is fast transitioning from feeding Westerners to feeding and meeting the tastes of the Asia-Pacific region, home to approximately 4.3 billion, or 60 percent, of the world’s population.

With the world’s total population projected to grow to more than ten billion people by 2050, global agricultural production will have to increase by 70 percent. Arable land will come under increasing pressure as we need to increase production and higher yields. New Zealand, and its food and beverage sector, are well placed to help meet that increasing demand.

Investing in New Zealand's food and beverage sector gives overseas investors access to the largest manufacturing sub-sector in New Zealand. Export revenues total some $36 billion a year and are fast-growing. More than 60 global food and beverage multinationals already invest in New Zealand.

56% of NZs export goods are related to food and beverage

Research and innovation

The food and beverage sector benefits from more than half a billion dollars a year spend on agri-food research across a wide range of areas, from fruit genetics to nutraceuticals. The country is also home to four major universities respected globally for their agri-food research. 

Quality and safety

As an island nation with strong biosecurity controls, New Zealand is free of a wide range of animal diseases; this leads to higher yields and excellent market access. We have developed a wide range of systems to process food in a safe, cost effective way, while retaining sensory and nutritional properties.

Agribusiness

New Zealand's global reputation in agriculture provides complementary opportunities in agribusiness products. The various businesses involved in food production all form an important part of the New Zealand economy. From farming, seed supply, and machinery, to processing, productivity-enhancing information technology, and distribution and sales, a significant portion of the country's labour market and income generation is based around agribusiness.

Agribusiness product and services exports are a valuable addition to New Zealand's food and fibre exports. One of New Zealand's strengths is being able to develop and operate efficient, cost-effective and ethical food production practices and scientific capability.

There is great support for businesses and innovation in this sector both from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and other industry and Government organisations.

Aquaculture

New Zealand's aquaculture sector has grown 3.8 percent year-on-year since 2010, with aquaculture exports earning $392 million in 2016. This is already the fastest growing sector of the New Zealand seafood industry and accounts for about 20 percent of all fisheries' sales annually. The industry has set itself a goal of NZ$1 billion annual sales by 2025.

Our isolated position in the South Pacific Ocean makes ours one of the world's finest locations for marine farming. Our pathogen-free aquatic environment and absence of inorganic toxins means that we are one of the few countries in the world where shellfish do not require depuration (purification in clean seawater) prior to processing.

Dairy

We are the world’s top dairy exporter, accounting for one-third of international dairy trade. There are now more than 100 categories on offer, from gourmet ice-cream to innovations such as spray-dried milk proteins and infant formula produced from goat milk. The demand for whey milk protein and other milk commodities is expected to exceed supply capabilities for the foreseeable future.

The sector enjoys ongoing growth through value added processing in products such as specialty cheeses, flavoured milks and foods containing dairy ingredients such as chocolate, frozen bakery goods, and infant formula. Ongoing global demand for our dairy exports creates lucrative and long-term investment opportunities for investors in this sector.

The industry’s key strengths include its efficient all-grass farming system, large-scale processing, significant investment in research and development, high standards for food safety and animal welfare, 130 years’ experience in dairy exports and a leading position in the global dairy industry, and creative marketing.

There’s untapped potential and room for investors in a number of value-added niche areas including infant formula and nutritional shakes, shredded cheese, single serve butter and premium specialty cheese and nutraceuticals.

Functional foods

New Zealand has a burgeoning health ingredient, functional foods and nutraceuticals industry. World class science, unique raw materials, excellence in food research, biodiversity, a pristine growing environment, safety and traceability all make this an exciting growth sector.

New Zealand has a broad range of native plants, animals and marine organisms unique to us. In recent years there has been a growing number of businesses developing new food and beverage products using these as ingredients as a differentiator when they go to market.

Opportunities for investment exist in functional foods such as low-fat milk that is high in calcium and protein, as well as biomedical and biohealth products.

Meat and meat derivatives

New Zealand has been exporting high quality meat products to the world for over 130 years. Our competitive advantages lie beyond our temperate climate, rainfall and fertile lands. We have a wealth of knowledge that we have used to improve our farming practices and meat processing.

We invest in extensive genomics research of lamb and beef to help producers optimise growth rates and output quality. We are also proudly recognised as disease free by the World Organisation for Animal Health. We have high standards for animal welfare and stringent biosecurity standards.

Food traceability is increasingly important for consumers and more of our farmers are now able to help us track our meat products from farm to plate. Advances in chilling products to extend shelf life and transportability have also helped to create new opportunities in this sector.

While beef and lamb are our most popular meat products, we are also highly regarded for our veal, goat, poultry and venison. We have an almost exclusively free-range grass-fed production system, producing a tender, appetising and healthy product that is customised for clients around the world. Our livestock’s diet of fresh pasture, grass and nutrient-rich clover almost completely eliminates grain feeding and nutritional supplementation.

Wine

The New Zealand wine industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. Exports have increased in value for 21 consecutive years and for the year to November 2016 wine exports were $1.6 billion. New Zealand wine exporters have seen market share grow in key global markets, particularly the United States whilst consumption of wine and wine based spirits (e.g. cognac) in China and other Asian markets are also steadily rising.

Producers have invested heavily in technology and innovation in viticulture resulting in an increase in market share in the high margin end of the global wine market.

New Zealand consistently produces award-winning, premium wines that fetch high international prices on par with traditional European wine-producing countries.

Sauvignon Blanc accounts for the majority of our wine exports. Pinot Noir has also grown in reputation and value, and is now its second largest varietal by export volume. Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon all remain important signature varietals for particular regions.


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    You'll find plenty of information on the Stats NZ website, including statistics about New Zealand’s population and environment, and information broken down by region.
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