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Quality mark for juice industry

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Tuesday 30th October 2001

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The fruit juice industry has banded together to boost the quality assurance of its members' products.

The NZ Juice Association has launched a logo and an associated code of practice aimed at informing customers about what they drink.

Agriculture Minister, Jim Sutton, launched the new logo Tuesday and says he welcomes the industry's initiative to assure consumers that they are drinking exactly what the label says they are drinking.

"This logo and the voluntary code of practice associated with it is aimed at ensuring truth in labelling. The Compliance Standard Logo will demonstrate to the trade and consumers that they can have full confidence in products, which carry the logo.

"It's an important part of industry self-regulation and I welcome the initiative"

The Juice Association covers manufacturers, processors, distributors and associated companies and is responsible for around 95% of New Zealand's retail sales of fruit juice, worth more than $150 million nationally.

Mr Sutton says fruit juice sales have shown strong growth over the past five years with annual consumption increases of approximately 9% per annum but there is still room for growth.

"New Zealand consumption per capita is still significantly behind other more mature markets such as the United States and Australia with NZ consuming approximately one quarter of the USA and one third of Australian consumption.

"This indicates strong and sustainable growth opportunities for the New Zealand Industry in future years - and another reason for your industry to demonstrate its willingness to vouch for your product and to be audited on that."

As part of the Compliance Standard logo, fruit juice products will be audited by an independent agency on a regular basis. The agency will buy the juices from ordinary retail outlets and will test and report back to ensure products make the grade.

Beverage company, Frucor (NZSE: FRU) is one of the biggest players in the NZ juice market. Last year the company's fruit juice and drinks sales, including exports, grew 2.6% to $71.5 million.

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