The 'New Zealand's Finest Choice' promotion is running at two Parkson stores in Shanghai, as part of the government's China Retail Channel Development Project. The project is designed to help New Zealand companies trial their products in a retail environment before committing to a major export drive.
"China is a priority for our food and beverage exporters. It's already our fourth largest trading partner, and our food and beverage exports to China make up a third of our total exports there," said New Zealand's trade minister Phil Goff.
He added that the sector is expected to benefit significantly from a Free Trade Agreement, currently under discussion between New Zealand and China.
Economic development minister Trevor Mallard said getting New Zealand food and beverage exporters established in China was crucial, given the forecast growth in the Chinese grocery market.
"The Chinese marketplace is large and dynamic so a collective and cooperative approach is vital so our industries have the critical mass to make an impact."
The project currently involves more than 30 companies from around New Zealand, representing more than 20 different product categories including wines and alcoholic beverages, dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, a wide variety of fruits, chocolates, honey, bottled water, speciality food products and natural health foods.
The products are displayed in a branded New Zealand 'shop within a shop' format, which are supported by a targeted marketing campaign including public relations, advertising and a text-messaging (SMS) competition.
The companies are working with Heng Tai, a Chinese logistics service provider and distributor, to keep costs down.
Research shows that the growing Chinese middle class, typically located in the major cities on the Eastern seaboard of China - and in particular, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou - are seeking convenience and increasingly looking for the healthiest, freshest quality foods, with food safety being an important purchasing trigger.
New Zealand's unblemished record as a safe, trusted provider of food and beverage products means its produce has an edge, say the project leaders.