2 Aug 2011

Cereal maker eyes Chinese market

8:04 am on 2 August 2011

The New Zealand company that makes the Vogels range of breakfast cereals has made its first imports to China as part of a drive to diversify its exports into more Asian markets.

Smartfoods sells 30 different varieties of cereal to supermarkets in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the US state of Texas.

Managing director Justin Hall says the company now wants to extend those exports elsewhere and has recently appointed a distributor in China where, he says there is a growing trend towards trying more western foods.

He says initial sales to China have been of the products available on the New Zealand market but he says the next step will be to produce cereals tailored to the local palate using, for example, dried mushrooms rather than dried fruits.

Mr Hall says exports to the northern hemisphere are an important part of the company's business since meusli consumption tends to be seasonal, with more eaten in summer than during the winter months.

He set up Smartfoods from his home seven years ago and today it employs a staff of 30 of Auckland.

It is also the only cereal manufacturer in this country to use the calorie free natural South American sweetener STEVIA, meaning its breakfast cereal is only 6.5% sugar.