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Silver Fern Farms cashes in on firm meat demand

By OUYANG SHIJIA | China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-02 10:00
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A visitor checks out beef products from New Zealand during an expo in Shanghai on Sept 30. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's leading processor, marketer and exporter of meat products, is looking to continuously increase investment in China due to rising growth opportunities in the largest overseas market for New Zealand red meat.

"With Sino-New Zealand trade development and China's rapid economic growth, the China market has gradually become the most important international market for Silver Fern Farms," said Alex Wang, the company's country manager for China.

"We are confident in strong relationship between China and New Zealand. Silver Fern Farms is committed to increasing investment in the China market. As we deepen cooperation with local enterprises, we will further satisfy consumers' increasingly nutritious and healthy dietary needs," Wong said.

Looking ahead to the next five years, the company will further enhance its "plate-to-pasture "strategy, tailoring localized product strategies to satisfy diverse and segmented Chinese consumer needs in different regions for red meat, Wang added. "A key focus for Silver Fern Farms is to have a better understanding of our Chinese customers' needs."

Having entered the China market over 20 years ago, the company has continuously expanded its product scope to beef, lamb and venison and associated products, and now exports to more than 60 countries and regions around the world.

"China is Silver Fern Farms' largest market, and it registered its strongest performance among all of our major markets last year, being the fastest growing one worldwide despite the COVID-19 pandemic," Wang said.

"While we live in an age rife with challenges, it is also an age full of hope and opportunities."

Since the pandemic, the company has worked with e-commerce platforms such as JD to sell products, thus meeting Chinese consumers' rising demand to cook at home.

"During the past six months, our online sales have doubled in the China market," Wang said. "New channels such as e-commerce, community group buying and livestreaming e-commerce will not only help us sell more products, but also bring Silver Fern Farms closer to customers in China."

Silver Fern Farms has seen rising consumption power from China's younger generation.

"Our red meat offerings such as venison, lamb and beef are high in protein and low in fat, which will satisfy younger generation's rising expectations for fitness," he said.

The company introduced its venison products to China at the annual China International Import Expo last year, which soon won deer meat a huge following among Chinese consumers.

"The venison products were originally supplied to European high-end caterers before the pandemic, and now we are brining Chinese consumers same products at reasonable prices," Wang said.

Wong added that the company prepared 1,000 packs of venison products for less than 20 yuan per pack on a community group buying platform in April, with supplies selling out in just three hours.

The company is a 50-50 partnership between Silver Fern Farms Cooperative and Shanghai Maling Aquarius-a leading Chinese meat processor and distribution company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

"We strongly benefited from both our Chinese shareholder and Chinese government's continued efforts to expand opening-up and create a better business environment. China's rising consumption demand for red meat also provides huge growth opportunities," he said.

In 2020, China was the largest import market for New Zealand red meat. With Sino-New Zealand trade development and China's rapid economic growth, the China market has gradually become the most important international market for Silver Fern Farms.

"As economic and trade relations between China and New Zealand reach a new level, the agricultural industry will also become an important part of China-New Zealand cooperation," Wang said.

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