By - Wayne Linklater 07/08/2013


 

The front page (5 August, 2013) of the China Daily posted outside the Free Speech Café, University of California – Berkeley.
The front page (5 August, 2013) of the China Daily posted outside the Free Speech Café, University of California – Berkeley. Fonterra’s milk is New Zealand’s milk. Fonterra, in good times and bad, trades on brandNZ.

Big nations view the big companies of small nations differently. Fonterra is New Zealand, New Zealand is Fonterra.

If Kraft – the largest food company headquartered in the USA – exported contaminated food the headlines are likely to read ‘Kraft food fears’ not ‘USA food fears’.

Consider Nestle – originated in Switzerland to become the world’s largest packaged food maker  and world’s largest dairy products company. If Nestle dumped pollutants the head line would likely be ‘Nestle contaminates’ not ‘Switzerland contaminates’.

But Fonterra – New Zealand’s largest company and the world’s fourth largest dairy company – trades on our nation’s brand recognition as well as its own product’s brands. Fonterra’s milk is New Zealand’s milk.

This is good for Fonterra. The New Zealand brand of cleanliness and purity, being unspoilt and pristine, has been cheap compared to the expense of creating its own trans-national brand like Kraft and Nestle have had to do.

But it also comes at a price. When Fonterra stuffs up, brandNZ and all the companies that also trade on it – tourism and other food producers to name a few – suffer.

I don’t mind Fonterra trading on my countries brand. I like the brand and I want to see it made true.

But my support for Fonterra milk being New Zealand milk is conditional on Fonterra also investing appropriately in maintaining and enhancing brandNZ in the same way that Nestle and Kraft invest in their brands.

Because, I agree with Fonterra – “Healthy ecosystems support a healthy dairy industry”.

When Fonterra markets its products with brandNZ it should take a significant portion of the profits and invest them back into maintaining and enhancing the quality and healthiness of the New Zealand environment.

If Fonterra does not invest more substantially in brandNZ then perhaps it is time that it stood alone. Can Fonterra stand on its own ‘brand’ feet?