Kiwi sorbet maker creating new flavours for Singaporean market
Wellington gelato producer Carrello del Gelato has established itself into the Singaporean market through the local high-end supermarket chain.
Founder and director of the business Nathan Meyer began exporting to Singapore last year, just in time for Cold Storage supermarket’s annual New Zealand week product showcase.
Singapore is the only export market for Carrello del Gelato. Meyer said while Australia was the first step, the market there proved too competitive.
Instead Meyer looked to the next accessible market in the region, Singapore. He said the country was ideal because of its large expat community and strong mix of Eastern and Western cultural influence.
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Singapore’s young and growing middle class with more disposable income made it a good opportunity for the Kiwi business to sell its product as a premium brand, he said.
“It’s quite a sophisticated market. They’re used to Western products and it’s also compact, logistically that’s good for frozen products,” Meyer said.
“But the market is a good trial. It might not be the biggest market, but it’s a really good place to see the challenges and the difficulties you’re going to have exporting to that region.”
Singapore is one of the wealthiest countries in Southeast Asia with the middle class earning 17 per cent more than the rest of the region.
Meyer said another bonus was that the promotion through the supermarket chain’s annual New Zealand week, where it displays products from over 50 brands
He said since the last week in May, sales have already been up 30 per cent.
The company has had six shipments since it began exporting, a new order every three months.
But having to air freight the products to Singapore with dry ice has been a large expense and Meyer was hoping to secure container shipping soon.
Due to restrictions with dairy products, Carrello del Gelato has only been exporting its sorbet range of lemon, feijoa, wild berry and mango.
He said during the New Zealand week feijoa became quite the hit despite only a few people knowing what it was.
Meyer is also working on creating custom flavours for the Singaporean market including durian and avocado.
“They have other popular ice cream flavours like corn, that aren’t that common in European countries.”
He wanted to cater to the different flavours consumers’ palettes are used to in Singapore.
Meyer said the most important step in the export process was securing the right distributors.
“Distributors can make or break you. Supermarkets were a good starting point. What you’re looking for is a distributor that doesn’t have too many products. If you’re distributor has 500 products you’re going to get lost in their catalogue.”
Meyer said although the ultimate Asian market is China, but because of its scale, Hong Kong will be the next export market for his business.