Natural Products Industry Overview

Wellness and good health are priceless commodities. And in aid of the nation’s fiscal fitness, the natural products industry contributed a healthy $1.4 billion to the NZ economy last year, up $1 billon in the last 5 years.

As more and more awareness grows around our food ingredients, and the safety of the health care products we use, many of us are reaching for natural and organic alternatives.

Natural products including everyday and novel foods, such as manuka honey, colostrum, greenlipped mussels and fish oils, deer velvet, bee venom, flaxseed, horopito, and botanical extracts. Nutraceuticals and dietary supplements, cosmeceuticals and body care products, also contribute to the industry. Industry support services include manufacturers, testing laboratories, packaging companies, and legal and marketing experts.

The natural products industry in New Zealand is made up primarily of small businesses, some which have evolved from the garden shed into large and successful export businesses.

Most of the natural products manufactured in NZ are consumed by the NZ market (50%), with Australia(16.4%), the United States (7.4%) and Asia countries (16.5% combined total) our main export destinations.The natural products industry employs around 4,600 people and contributes over $250 million in wages.

Natural Product New Zealand (NPNZ) is an organisation set up to bring natural product companies together, allowing its members a unified voice in determining the direction of the industry. NPNZ is active in encouraging high standards, maintaining New Zealand’s reputation for excellent products, and endeavours to ensure its members have access to local and international markets. NPNZ membership represents about 80 percent of the NZ natural products industry.

Nelson is a large contributor to those figures. Not only do NPNZ member companies such as Seadragon Marine Oils, Oxygen Skincare, Nelson Honey & Marketing, Go Healthy NZ, Forest Herbs Research, Mountain Red, Natrapak, and FlowMotion make their base in Nelson, Nelson is also home to world-class suppliers of services, such as testing labs Cawthron Institute and Supreme Biotechnologies, and product manufacturers such as Nutizeal, and Alaron Products.

Alaron Products must be one of Nelson’s best kept secrets, a huge factory in Tahunanui tucked away behind the hedges. Alaron Products is New Zealand’s most respected GMP Certified manufacturer of dietary supplements, complementary medicines, nutraceuticals, vitamins, powder blends, and cosmetic and personal care products.

Certified by the New Zealand Ministry of Health MedSafe Division, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries, and the NZMPI Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines division, Alaron is strictly a contract and private label manufacturer.

One of the private label brands currently being manufactured at Alaron is FlowMotion Organic Lubricant. FlowMotion Ltd is a fledgling Nelson business which launched its only product, FlowMotion Organic Lubricant, in June of 2014.

Though a new-comer to the natural products industry, founder and Managing Director, Michele Surcouf has only good things to say about the industry.

“The whole process of introducing a new product to the market has been a huge learning experience for me. As a one-woman business, there have been a lot of challenges and some frustrations along the way. But the assistance and the expertise I have had from the NPNZ, other industry members, and service providers such as Alaron, has been invaluable to the growth of my business.”

Having received the green light by Foodstuffs South Island in November of 2014, FlowMotion Organic Lubricant is now the first BioGro Certified Organic personal lubricant to find a place on the supermarket shelves in New Zealand.

“This is something I am really proud of.” says Michele. “My market research showed most people buy their lubricant at the supermarket, so that is where I wanted to place my product. I’ve just commissioned a TV commercial, which should be airing soon. I hope to increase, not only sales, but awareness of the availability of an organic choice.”

FlowMotion Ltd received the James and Well’s Highly Commended Award for Innovation in Marketing, awarded by Natural Product New Zealand Inc at the 2015 Summit in Rotorua (18 March), with the top award going to Comvita. This award recognises innovative marketing and promotion of the company’s products.