Less New Zealand onions going to UK

New Zealand Growers are growers, packers and exporters of fruit and vegetables from New Zealand. The company's main export is onions grown by five growers throughout the country on 475 ha of land.

The New Zealand onion season is around mid-point at the moment, starting in late November and running through to July, early August. Supply lasts year-round.

Growing conditions have been mixed through New Zealand this season, according to Martin Tribe, Marketing Manager, at NZ Growers, "Most growers in the Auckland area are pretty happy with the season so far, but it has been hot in Hawkes Bay and growers on the South Island have had mixed conditions. In general quality is excellent and sizes are mid-range."

New Zealand grows mainly brown (yellow) onions and some red varieties which are from domestic and imported seed lines and are being marketed successfully in Japan and the EU as well as other destinations around the globe.

The onion production in New Zealand is 95% brown varieties. As a country they export 80% of the onions produced, NZ Growers export 90% of their onions. The main destinations are Europe and Asia. Europe and the UK receive 90,000 tonnes, SE Asia 50,000 tonnes and 17-20,000 tonnes go to N Asia.

"Over the last five years New Zealand have been sending more volume to SE Asia and less to Europe. The decline to Europe comes mainly from the UK which has dropped off significantly in the last few years, exports have gone from 30,000t 5/6 years ago, to 10-15,000t in the last couple of years," explains Tribe.

"Importers in the UK just won't pay the prices any more! This is down to a combination of exchange rates and a desire to use domestic produce, they are also importing more from the Dutch."

He does not expect to see any change in this situation even after the wet winter in the UK.

NZ Growers exports mostly bulk to the EU, but for Asian markets branding is important, "If you have a successful brand there you are in a better position than non-branded products," concludes Tribe.

For more information:
Martin Tribe
NZ Growers
Tel: +64 9 236 8372
Email: martin@nzgrowers.co.nz

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