Looking to start exporting?

Luke Parker
Looking to start exporting?

For a small Kiwi business with a product desired by millions globally, it was only natural for Blenheim’s Omega Seafood brand to look at exporting overseas from its inception 12 years ago.

P.H.R Processing Ltd produces Omega Seafood Cooked Gourmet Mussels & Clams, and is now a 25-strong employee business which grows and packages 1.3 million kilograms of mussels and clams every year.

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Marketing Manager Jo O’Connell says 85% of these are exported overseas as whole shell mussels and clams vacuum-packed and lightly pressure-cooked in plastic pouches.


Nothing's simple

From securing new overseas buyers and larger markets, and finding the cheapest shipping routes and transport partnerships, to riding the highs and lows of the New Zealand dollar, there’s a lot to know about exporting which comes through hard work and experience.


Jo says understanding the destination market and the needs of the end customer have been crucial to the success of the business.

“It’s about defining why you’re better than alternatives at addressing those concerns and then starting to knock on doors. You’ve got to give it 110%."

P.H.R Processing Ltd was registered in October 2003 and launched its gourmet mussels the following October.

The company started exporting to Hong Kong in 2005 and has since expanded to China, Australia, the United States, United Arab Emirates and a few other Asian countries.

“It’s much easier to sell shellfish to people who don’t have an abundant supply on their doorstep.

“But what makes our range unique is that the mussels and clams give all the presentation and preparation options of live shellfish, without the quality, safety, or regulatory costs.”


Establish rules to live by

With New Zealand’s fantastic reputation as a trustworthy source of high quality, safe food also helping the business, Omega Seafood’s plan is to continue expanding into other overseas markets.

“The most challenging part is building repeat sales as this takes time and cash flow is always a limiting factor.”

Jo says an important rule they live by is making sure to always get paid before the container leaves their factory.

“Another key is to fix the contract to lock in the exchange rate with the price.”

Omega-Seafood-mussell-and-clam-packagingTo counter the effects of the rise and fall of the New Zealand dollar, she says Omega Seafood doesn’t sell on price but rather on their unique benefits.

“We sell on benefit, not price. Otherwise it’s a race to the bottom. By ‘sell on benefit, not price’ I mean it’s about explaining the value you’ve added, or the intrinsic value, of the product to the customer.

"Everyone appreciates value. If you just sell on price then you’re in the commodity game with reduced profit margin. Even worse, you have no perceived product differentiation from competitive offerings.”

Jo says currently with the NZD being very low and a busy summer season coming up, the team at Omega Seafood are looking forward to a productive year ahead.

SEE ALSO: 3 key things that wow business investors


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