16 Oct 2013

Seasonal production a marketing issue

2:23 pm on 16 October 2013

The country's biggest meat processor and exporter says New Zealand's inability to supply consistent quantities of beef all year round remains an issue for customers in export markets.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper has just returned from the world's largest food fair, Anuga in Gemany, and meetings with customers in Europe.

He says the issue of year-round supply crops up as a hardy annual.

While competitors like Australia and the United States can supply grain-fed beef consistently all year round, New Zealand is limited by seasonal conditions in the amount of beef it can supply, especially during winter months.

However, Mr Cooper says overseas buyers are not interested in hearing the explanation.

"They want consistency of supply and that means a 52-week supply base," he says.

Mr Cooper says New Zealand's inability to enter into "programme-type arrangements" means it becomes a spot trader for parts of the year.

He says the problem probably means New Zealand misses out on some customers because it cannot commit to year-round supply.