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Kiwi company launches direct-to-China dried fruit service

Millions of Chinese may soon wake up to New Zealand dried fruits on their morning porridge, as a Waiuku company launches a New Zealand-to-China direct dried fruit sachet delivery service.

DryNZ, the Waiuku company behind premium tea brand Ti Ora, is launching a range of specially designed dried fruit granules with pure NZ manuka honey powder tailored for the Chinese market that will be delivered door to door through popular online social networking site WeChat.

The innovative service is intended to be up and running for Chinese New Year 2020 on January 25 or soon after.

Congee, or Chinese rice porridge, is one of the most popular breakfasts in China. DryNZ expects this is where most of their fruit and vegetable granules will be used – as a hot drink, topping for breakfast foods, as well as in smoothies, fruit teas and snack foods. The granules – including apple, blackcurrant, feijoa, kiwifruit, lemon and peach – are dried from fresh New Zealand produce.

DryNZ’s Chinese associate, which is providing the online sales platform, believes the demand for these products will be practically insatiable. DryNZ will produce the dried goods for China initially using their vacuum dryers and is looking to increase capacity to meet the expected demand and to improve quality control.

With just two vacuum dryers in production, and a third needed to take on the international market, DryNZ is seeking $1.5 million from equity investors to fund a new dryer that will increase its drying capabilities sevenfold.

DryNZ managing director Anne Gibson is confident about her business’ move into the Chinese market.

"New Zealand’s reputation in China provides a great entrée for us – our products are highly sought-after due to their provenance, traceability, and fit within the Chinese market. We will be extremely excited to see the business grow following our launch into China, which will require more investment to meet product demands."

Orders for DryNZ’s granule sachets will be sent to the company’s Mt Wellington warehouse before they are shipped directly to Chinese customers.

Global food trends like traceability, convenience, plant-based products and nutritional value have increased the demand for dried food – and New Zealand produce is at the forefront of this demand. Dried goods from New Zealand are viewed as premium products overseas, due to New Zealand’s global reputation of authenticity and purity.

By nature of its business, DryNZ promotes sustainability. Exporting dried fruit produces significantly less carbon emissions than fresh fruit, given the total weight of goods is 80-90 per cent lower than it would be if it was not dehydrated. Dried fruit can also be harvested from non-tier produce (non-export sized fruit, or fruit that does not meet stockist specifications) which helps to reduce waste from growers. While fruit and vegetables are ruthlessly sorted by food chains, DryNZ can use crooked carrots and oddly shaped apples without compromising the quality of their final product.

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