New Zealand Herald, 3/17/2014
Asian consumers increasingly viewing health supplements as "an investment rather than an expense" are driving growth in New Zealand's natural products industry, says the boss of Comvita's operations in China and Southeast Asia.
Bay of Plenty-based Comvita markets products including manuka honey lozenges and bee pollen capsules and operates more than 450 retail sites across Asia.
South Asia general manager Ronnie Butt said Asian healthcare systems were generally not as good as what New Zealanders were used to.
"A lot of Asian consumers are now seeing health supplements, or natural skincare products, as an investment rather than an expense," he said.
"They're thinking, 'I better go and buy something for my parents to keep them healthy otherwise I'll be in trouble when they get sick'."
Hong Kong-based Butt, who is in New Zealand this week to speak at the Natural Products NZ annual summit, said 10 or 15 years ago consumers in countries like China weren't so worried about their health.
"Now they're investing in their health," he said. "That's a big paradigm shift and that's why the market's growing so strongly."…