8 Mar 2016

Diverse markets key to growth, Alliance says

12:25 pm on 8 March 2016

The country's biggest sheepmeat processor and exporter, the Alliance Group, says diversifying markets and having direct supply contracts with customers is the way to lift farm gate returns for its suppliers.

The Alliance Group's Nelson plant.

The Alliance Group's Nelson plant. Photo: Alliance Group

The co-operative has secured a deal with Spanish supermarket chain Mercadonna, which has 1400 stores and a 26.5 percent share of the food retail market.

Alliance general manager of marketing Murray Brown said the company sent meat to 65 countries and returns were more stable if it could supply supermarkets and customers directly through contracts.

There were plenty of opportunities for the company, especially in Asian countries, he said.

"More diversity of market mix and not getting too dependent on one particular market is where we need to be for the future.

"The traditional markets of Europe and UK, North America, the Middle East, they're still important to the business, but as new opportunities in the growing Asian area - and also even things like recently the opening up of sanctions in Iran."

Staff were on the ground in Asia to develop markets there, he said.

"In my view it's still an immature and developing market, but still putting resource on the ground is good sense in terms of providing better understanding, consumers insights and market research.

"It is still very much a developing region, and it's a big market, and a growing population, but they're still very much traditional in their eating habits ... so where New Zealand can hopefully picture itself is more the value than the volume categories."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs