As I See It : Michelle Beckett

Michelle Beckett is executive director of Natural Products New Zealand (NPNZ), the national industry organisation representing companies involved in all areas of the natural products and nutraceuticals sector.

How would you describe the New Zealand identity?

At the core of our Kiwi identity is that wonderful settler mentality of ‘roll up the sleeves and get the job done’. New Zealanders have unique ethos: we are resourceful and innovative, finding different ways of doing things and looking for creative solutions.
New Zealand is situated in splendid geographical isolation which works to our advantage in that we are able to promote collective brand image of New Zealand; clean and green. That combined with the energy, spirit and drive behind New Zealand products and businesses helps New Zealand to punch above its weight on the global stage.

What will be our next major challenge?

Our remoteness can also be challenge. Being far away from many of our major markets can add complacency. We need to keep up with the trends and demands of our foreign markets to stay in the game. By understanding who our customers are, their specific cultural needs and what they want, New Zealand companies can apply our unique creativity to sustain and grow our offshore markets.

What do we need to do to prepare ourselves for this?

Government investment in developing deeper understanding of prioritised export markets with particular focus on looking at ways to overcome the barriers to market entry. Distance and its environmental effects, in terms of carbon miles, are high on the list at the moment as is the fluctuating New Zealand dollar.

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