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Taiwanese appetites for NZ Beef growing

New figures confirm that, in part thanks to the Taiwan Beef Alliance, the Taiwanese are now the fourth biggest eaters of New Zealand Beef. However Meat New Zealand chairman Jeff Grant says the Taiwanese appetites for beef are expected to grow even bigger.

In the year to date since October 2002, Taiwan has imported 16,300 tonnes of New Zealand Beef, up 28 percent from the same period last year. However the Taiwanese currently only consume around four kilograms of beef per capita each year. As the Beef Alliance, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US are trying to increase that, Grant said.

Initially the Beef Alliance consisted of New Zealand, Australia and the US working together to increase overall beef consumption and was trialled in Kaohsiung in 2002, Grant said. "Promotions centred around the importance of iron for brain development in children, and beef as a valuable source of iron. This led to a 10 percent jump in beef consumption in Taiwan."

The success of the initial campaign encouraged Canada to become involved. This year the Taiwan Beef Alliance's promotions were based in Taipei, Grant said. "It has been another successful campaign on behalf of New Zealand beef producers. Beef is New Zealand's number one export to Taiwan."

"Our medium term goal for Taiwan is to increase per capita beef consumption to around 10 kg, which is more in line with Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Obviously with a population of around 23 million, even a slight increase in Taiwanese per capita beef consumption will have tremendous benefits for New Zealand beef producers."

"Taiwan has no domestic beef industry, so there it has great potential for growth as an export market."

Grant said Meat New Zealand is now building on the success of the Taiwan Beef Alliance through its own public relations and restaurant promotions, and our market share is also increasing, thanks in part to the New Zealand Beef point-of-sale promotional material. "In the past, a big restaurant chain - the Bullfight Crew - used 50 percent New Zealand beef and 50 percent US. However they have now increased New Zealand's contribution to 80 percent."

"Ninety percent of our beef exports to Taiwan are used in the hospitality trade and we would like to think we can get to a point with our promotional and educational programmes where Taiwanese consumers are specifically requesting New Zealand Beef," he said.

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