‘Made in New Zealand’ wins big with Kiwi consumers

A Nielsen study has found that for the most part, New Zealanders prefer to buy products made locally rather than overseas brands. Just over half (52 percent) try to buy locally produced items as much as possible, with fresh produce the most popular New Zealand made purchase.

As shown by the table below, locally grown fresh food is the clear winner. Fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood and dairy all rank at the top of consumers’ preferences.

Seven in ten New Zealanders prefer buying local vegetables and meat over globally sourced fresh produce.

But the local factor isn’t just limited to produce – packaged food also is preferred to be made on New Zealand soil.

Over half of consumers prefer locally made ice cream over global brands (51 percent versus nine percent), while 46 percent prefer locally made breakfast cereals, 41 prefer locally made canned vegetables and 39 percent prefer locally made biscuits.

“Succeeding in the packaged food and snack categories is all about understanding consumer tastes in the local market,” Nielsen director of retail Lance Dobson says.

“Local brands often cater best to local preferences due to their agility and ability to innovate. This contrasts to global brands that capitalise on economies of scale and offer more homogenous products across markets.”

Meanwhile, consumers prefer buying computers, laptops, mobile phones, TVs and cars that are made globally.

“With high product development costs for durables and electronic goods and the need for economies of scale, it’s not a surprise that there’s a clear preference for global brands such as computers, mobile phones and cars,” Dobson says.

Just 14 percent of Kiwis said “national pride” was a factor for choosing local brands, but more than half said they prefer buying local brands to support local businesses.

When choosing between a global and local brand, consumers said price, previous good experience, promotions and better product benefits (like flavour) influenced their decision.

Dobson’s advice on what local and global brands can learn from each other is:

  • International brands should operate globally, but act locally. “Multinationals should look for opportunities to localise global products, leveraging their global brand but customising products for local preferences.”
  • Local brands should invest in talent to compete with global businesses. “Local companies may not have the same depth in their talent pool as global brands, but attracting skilled talent must be a priority. The expertise of key leadership roles requires significant investment in training to develop knowledge and skills.”
  • They should keep innovating and get products into the market ahead of global competition, he says. “While local companies might not have their global counterparts’ vast resources for new product development, they have a deep understanding of the needs of their consumers, and they often have a flagship brand built on relevance to the local shopper. Additionally, they maintain local decision making authority, so the time from concept to creation can be shorter.”