Salmon, honey could be NZ's next top exports

Last updated 15:32 20/11/2012

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Salmon, honey and spirits could all be New Zealand's next "wine" industry, new research shows.

A series of reports by Coriolis Research for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment examined which of New Zealand's export categories had the potential to be as successful as our wine industry, now worth over $1 billion.

Coriolis looked at New Zealand food and beverage export markets worth less than US$100 million ($122 million) but more than US$2m.

It ranked the top 20 - which together were worth more than the wine industry in 2010 - and categorised them under the headings of 'best', 'better' and 'good'.

In the 'best' category were salmon, honey, spirits, biscuits, pet food and cherries.

If all 20 achieved their potential, New Zealand would be looking at an additional US$4b in export earnings each year, Coriolis said.

Salmon, honey and spirits were selected for in-depth analysis because they scored consistently highly across all the research criteria. They had shown strong and consistent export growth over time, attracted a premium for quality, and were able to leverage off New Zealand's image.

Coriolis estimated the export potential of honey products at US$150-200 million, the potential of spirits at US$300 million, and salmon at between US$500-700 million.

The products that fell into the 'better' category were chocolate, frozen French fries, beer, alcoholic cider, avocados and berries.

Those in the 'good' category were jams & jellies, capsicum, frozen & dried peas, sugar confectionery, soups & broths, fresh onions, prepared fish and beef jerky.

Some other categories of product were close behind the top 20, Coriolis said.  For instance, New Zealand's sausage exports were worth US$6 million and showing strong growth off a low base.

On the other hand, olive oil - worth just US$600,000 in exports - was a much smaller industry than its public profile suggested and would need to undergo significant development if it was to have the same sort of growth potential, the research house said.

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