09 May 2013 A renowned vanilla producer's dream to have its premium vanilla brand become globally recognised is a step closer with the introduction of Japan as its newest export market.
Heilala Vanilla is one of the 28 enterprises supported by the European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) Project, implemented by the Land Resources Division of SPC.
Vanilla beans and products processed by the award-winning company enter the Japanese markets after a successful product display at the World Food and Beverage Expo 2013 in Tokyo last month.
The IACT Project goal is to strengthen the export capacity of Pacific countries and territories in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock.
Under the project, Heilala Vanilla is provided with the technical assistance and support required to serve export markets. This mainly involves work in the areas of organic certification, purchase of specialised equipment and use of best practices.
IACT Team Leader, Samu Turagacati, said that Heilala Vanilla's expansion in the Japanese markets is a proud achievement for the company, and holds much promise for the vanilla producers in Tonga.
IACT's support for Heilala Vanilla, he explained, comes in at the right time as a boost to vanilla production, manufacturing and product marketing.
Japan is not always an easy market to access but the successful penetration of Heilala Vanilla into Japan is proof that Pacific products have an assured place in the "taste buds" of Asians, 'he added.
Heilala Vanilla, owned by Jennifer Boggiss and her father, John Ross, began operation in 2002. Vanilla beans from Tonga are brought to the company's base in Tauranga, New Zealand, where value-added vanilla products are produced and distributed to a range of retail, food service markets and food manufacturers.
Within a decade of operation, Heilala Vanilla has been able to establish markets in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the USA.
'We are well on our way to achieving our mission to become a globally recognised premium vanilla brand that is available in all the best restaurants and is used by premium food manufacturers around the world,' Boggiss said.
Over the past year, Heilala Vanilla has been in discussion with the Japanese confectionary company, Hon Takasagoya Co. Ltd, which will distribute and utilise Heilala Vanilla products in its confectionary range of cakes and biscuits.
Boggiss explained that the growing success of Heilala Vanilla is testament to its distinct flavour and aroma and its strong brand name, which reflects its South Pacific origin and partnership with the Vava'u community in Tonga.
The third shipment of Heilala Vanilla products is expected to be exported to Hon Takasagoya Co. Ltd in the coming days.
Issued by: SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community), for more information contact:Ashley R. GopalMedia & Communications Assistant - IACTLand Resources DivisionSPCSUVA,Fiji (Tel.: +679 3379492; email: ashleyg@spc,int)SPC website: www.spc.int