Crunch Time for Buy NZ Made

For the last few months I have been wondering why my favourite crunchy peanut butter just doesn’t taste quite as good as it used to. Then recently I heard a radio interview that mentioned how Sanitarium had shifted much of their operation to Australia and then subsequently outsourced peanut butter production to China. Sure enough – upon inspection I noticed three words in tiny print on the bottom corner of the label – “Made in China”. I recoiled in horror.

Now apparently because of sensitivities around trade barriers, there is some cautiousness about enforcing the labelling of some products with country of origin. So we now have (another) paradoxical situation. On the one hand the government has committed to pursue the “Buy NZ Made” policy, whilst on the other it feels obligated not to offend trading partners who are currently flooding the nation with cheap (but inferior) imported goods.

It sometimes feels like we are giving away our sovereignty when we look at how much of our consumer goods are now sourced from offshore. I actually don’t mind paying a few cents more for a New Zealand made food product that tastes better, because I know that it won’t end up in the waste bin half finished!

But is the “Buy NZ Made” campaign going to make a difference? I’m not sure that you can legislate to control consumer preference. Yes I would like to see more “NZ Made” labels on local products, so I can make an informed choice. But retailers have already got the message loud and clear from their customers and are voluntarily labelling goods anyway. And isn’t there already an existing organisation with a recognised logo? Why spend a bunch of my tax dollars reinventing the wheel?

The good news is that Sanitarium have just announced that they intend to recommence producing a line of traditional “more local” brand of peanut butter. I wonder if they appreciate the irony in the fact that it will still be manufactured in the Australian plant?

6 thoughts on “Crunch Time for Buy NZ Made

  1. I couldn’t agree more – the Buy NZ Made campaign is a buy out for the Greens and wil be less than effective.

    Consumer apathy (or inability to spend the extra to purchase NZ made) will always win out


  2. Pingback: Buy NZ Made, Roasted, Ground and Sold « business, strategy, governance

  3. I am somewhat of a peanut butter connosieur as well, and can easily recognize a spread of what I consider inferior quality.

    I guess the deeper point you make, is that many large companies that sell into the NZ market, Sanitarium included, are making the assumption that simple ol’ NZers buy what’s cheap and can’t “taste the difference”.

    However, some of us can taste the difference and are prepared to pay extra because of that.

    Locally owned boutique peanut butter producers take note.

  4. The Peanut Butter crunch.This is a natural corollary of the international
    community and clandestine cigar smoke backrooms where all the deals are made.China has in one sense done the consumer a favour by their
    manufacturing goods very cheaply.Hence the creation of an economic
    disutility for our local Peanut Butter manufacturer.But do take into account
    your friend and mine “Roger”.It ‘s all about inflation.Keeping down the cost of goods does, in fact , favour those whom can make things cheaply.And
    therefore no contest.The river will never start flowing upstream.Although
    us kiwis can remonstrate i suspect a state of inertia.All the jigsaw pieces
    have already been fitted.

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