Alliance Group marketing manager John Rabbitt has returned from a 10-day reconnaissance trip to the country where he met with the country’s leading meat suppliers in an effort to build a stronger understanding of the consumer markets and trading opportunities for the company’s Pure South lamb.
The visit, organised by ANZ Group and supported by NZTE, highlighted significant market potential for Alliance Group, particularly given the country’s population and its burgeoning middle class.
Rabbitt says research by the McKinsey Global Institute showed that within 20 years, India’s middle class will grow from five per cent of the population to more than 40 per cent, turning India into the fifth largest consumer market in the world.
“The Indian middle and upper classes are extremely brand conscious and are happy to pay more money for a premium product so it was very apparent to me that New Zealand products will have a real advantage over other trading countries.
“My talks with key industry members also reinforced the value of the New Zealand Inc brand and how New Zealand’s reputation as a supplier of quality food products is well known. This was very encouraging to hear.”
In the short to medium term, Alliance Group plans to target its product towards the five-star foodservice market, top hotels and restaurants, says Rabbitt.
“The Alliance Group is accessing all branded opportunities which includes our refreshed Pure South brand in securing a real foot-hold in the market. The main religion in India is Hinduism and Hindus do not eat beef. There are also more than 200 million Muslims living in the country who do not eat pork so there could be a very strong demand for high quality lamb products.”
English is also widely spoken in the business sector, which makes working with India easier for New Zealand exporters, he noted.
“The move into India’s food market will take time, as right now the demographics of the population are low income earners, so we need to be patient. The Free Trade Agreement is still in the process of being delivered and market access has yet to be finalised.
“While India may be a long-term prospect, the country’s economic prospects and demographic make-up indicate significant opportunities.
“Alliance Group will continue to design our business strategy for entering the Indian market and continue to build strong relationships with key industry members.”
There is some confusion around the difference between goat, mutton and lamb so Alliance Group could provide some knowledge and design information tools specifically for the Indian market, he says.