Future appears bright for New Zealand velvet in Korea

Apr 20, 2023

The future appears bright for the success of New Zealand’s velvet exports into Korea. Two Korean agency representatives who work for DINZ in the market shared their market insights during a recent visit to New Zealand.

Left to right are: JongKyu Jang, Fintan Cannon and Rhys Griffiths in Central Otago.

Jongkyu Jang and Fintan Cannon, director and managing director of the Korean agency Latitude, travelled through deer farming regions with DINZ market manager Rhys Griffiths.

The market for deer velvet in Korea is strong and growth is evident, despite the economic impact felt across all global industries during and post-COVID-19, Cannon, who was visiting this country for the first time, commented.

“Although there were some disruptions to the wholesale commodity markets, we’ve seen good growth for velvet over the past five years,” he noted. The New Zealand brand is also very strong within Korea and is well-known for its lush nature and environment.

He advocates continuing to communicate to both Korean businesses and customers the true New Zealand deer farmer story: “that of superior animal welfare and high quality, premium products - a story of which Kiwi deer farmers can be very proud.”

Two drivers were identified that will help create demand. The first is the research underway into the health benefits of deer velvet consumption. That will be used to gain Healthy Functional Foods classification – once approved by Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Another driver will be the emerging trend for Korean companies towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks, which has “really picked up over the last two years,” noted Jang. “Every company is talking about it.”

Griffiths believes the pressure currently being placed on New Zealand deer farmers’ environmental practices could be used to the sector’s advantage in the marketing of New Zealand deer velvet exports’ ESG value to key Korean companies and consumers.

DINZ is intent on emphasising the “extra mile our farmers are undertaking in the environmental space,” he says. “Acknowledging that hard graft is a great way to strengthen the story behind the legacy of Kiwi deer farmers.”

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