The new four-strong UK-based team, led by director of foodservice Graham Bougen and supported by a sales manager, chef and marketing manager, are focusing on the foodservice sector.
Murray Brown, general manager sales, said the pilot is part of Alliance Group strategy to capture greater market value.
“Foodservice is growing faster than retail as a result of the declining cost of eating out compared to cooking at home and the busy lives of ‘time-poor’ consumers,” he said. “Foodservice offers the potential for the co-operative to capture greater market value so we’ve launched a pilot in the UK and made several new key appointments to support this.”
Brown added that the move would hopefully improve the group’s relationship with key players in the foodservice industry as well as showcase New Zealand produce.
‘Concerted effort’ to strengthen position
“We’re aiming to strengthen our relationships with the decision-makers including the top-end chefs and also support them to tell the story our products make from our farmers to their menus.
“We have had a presence in foodservice, but this pilot is part of a concerted effort to reach a different level and ultimately capture greater market value.”
He added: “The foodservice sector and consumers are demanding the highest levels of environmental sustainability, ethical production and quality.
“The clean, lush pastures of New Zealand, meticulous production values, world-class technology all contribute to New Zealand’s reputation for producing genuine quality lamb, venison and beef.
“Our products bring together the quality and experience of New Zealand farmers with the expertise of New Zealand’s leading food company.”
Meanwhile, Alliance Group’s first shipment of chilled lamb – a consignment of French racks - has arrived in China as part of a six-month trial. The Group was selected for the trial following the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between China and New Zealand in March. The products were processed at its Pukeuri plant before being air-freighted to Shanghai for “high-end customer in the retail and foodservice sectors”.