China chipping in with kumara

20:05, Dec 18 2012
Chloe Glover
CHINESE KUMARA: They might taste all right but when Chloe Glover’s mother bought her Kenny’s Kumara Chips she thought they were a New Zealand product.

How far does a kumara have to travel to make it in to a bag of chips in a Kaipara supermarket?

All the way from China it appears.

Dargaville is the kumara capital of the country but Chinese-made Kenny's Kumara Chips aren't sourcing their sweet potatoes from New Zealand despite what some shoppers initially may think.

Mother of three Rose Stirling bought a packet of the chips thinking they were local when she saw the picture of New Zealand on the back of the pack, the name kumara (the Maori word for sweet potato) and a blurb about generations of New Zealanders enjoying kumara.

She then read the fineprint, realised the chips were from China, and thought Kaipara kumara growers might be missing out.

But a spokesman for Kenny's Kumara Chips says the plan is to make the chips in New Zealand eventually and "contribute to the local economy and employment".

"The sales volume needs to reach a point which makes production in New Zealand viable and the price still affordable to consumers."

The company says local wholesale kumara costs more than three times more than potatoes, meaning the retail price of New Zealand-made kumara chips would be more than double that of average potato chips.


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