(Last updated: 13 Feb 2012)
Trends and opportunities
Australia supplies approximately 38 per cent of the total food and beverage market in Fiji, and shares a position of preferred supplier along with New Zealand.
In 2010, the total food and beverage import for Fiji was valued at A$325,000 million. A number of food and beverage products imports were reduced due to the devaluation of the Fiji dollar in mid-April 2009 which has affected the volume of imports. In comparison, the strength of the Australian dollar had placed strain on the power of the Fiji currency.
With a domestic population of 870,000, Fiji imports the majority of its food and beverage requirements. There is a small and relatively concentrated food processing industry with retail and food service being the larger volume sub-sectors.
The grocery retail sector is the largest sub-sector, three times the size of the food service industry. The retail sector is relatively fragmented with four main players, the largest of which is Morris Hedstrom, the others are Newworld, Cost U Less and RB Patel. Close to half of Fiji’s population lives in the greater Suva area thus it is this geographic region that dominates retail sales. Suva also is a hub for the Pacific Islands with a number of regional institutions and multinational corporations that service the Pacific islands based in Suva. As a result there is also a small but notable expatriate community.
Importation of food and beverage for the food service sector primarily targets the tourist trade. Fiji has over 620,000 tourists visit each year with the majority from Australia and New Zealand. The majority of the resorts catering for the tourist trade are found in the west of Fiji around the Nadi/Coral Coast area and the Mamanuca in the Yasawa group, which is off Lautoka.
Key product categories that Australia supplies to Fiji are:
- Frozen meat
- Frozen seafood
- Wine and beer and other beverages
- Fresh produce
- Canned fruits
- Sauces and spreads
- Health bars
- Snack products
Australia currently supplies approximately one-third of the fruit and vegetables exported to Fiji. Those that are most commonly imported include:
- Fruit – apples, oranges, grapes, pears, plums, dates, nectarines, peaches and nashi pears.
- Vegetables – carrots, peas, dried legumes, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot, asparagus, turnips and parsley.
The 2012 budget announced in November 2011 made a number of changes to duty applicable to importation of fresh produce, dairy and meat products. Most vegetables that can be grown in Fiji or have substitutes that can grow in Fiji will attract 32 per cent duty.
Also note that import excise for a number of imported food items are in place.
Australia remains Fiji’s largest supplier of imported wines by a large margin – approximately 66 per cent of the total market. The wine market is very competitive and wine importers are constantly being presented with new brands. Pricing seems to play a major role in deciding which brands to carry. A number of affordable brands are available in bottle shops allowing exposure of wine to a great number of consumers.
Some newly imported beverages are appearing in supermarkets and convenience stores especially energy drinks and RTDs. Prices are quite competitive. A well priced product requiring a good distributor in the market can assist in promoting and growing the brand locally.
Whilst Fiji presents a broad range of supply opportunities, the best opportunities in Fiji’s food and beverage industry for Australian exporters are:
- Australian lamb and beef for the hospitality and food service sector
- Fresh fruit and some vegetables
- Retail UHT milk, butter and cheese, yoghurt, bulk butter, bulk powdered milk
- Consolidated shipments of general foodstuffs for retail sector
- Introduction of new lines with well-planned marketing strategy
- Beverages – energy drinks, aerated beverages and natural waters, beer, wine, spirits and liquors, equipment for the beverage industry
- Accessories including packaging and flavouring to the food processing industry
Australian suppliers face competition in a couple of key product categories from local and New Zealand supplies. In particular, Australian suppliers will face stiff competition from domestic players in the soft drinks, bottled water, snack products, spread lines and some dairy products and spreads.
Fiji is actively promoting its fruit and vegetables industry through high tariffs and excise.
New Zealand produce is widely found in Fiji, especially fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat. New Zealand wines are also increasing in popularity.
Recently there has been an increase of meat exports to Fiji from Vanuatu especially for the hospitality sector and prawns from New Caledonia.
An increasing number of Asian products are now in supermarkets, especially in Asian grocery outlets in the country. Fiji’s labelling laws on food products had forced a number of Asian products to be removed from supermarket shelves. Products were not labelled in the English language, did not show ingredient listing and due dates.