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18 June 2009

100% Pure Food?


The proposal to broaden the 100% Pure New Zealand tourism brand to include the country's food exports leaves us nervous.

In the past the 100% Pure New Zealand brand has been criticised inside New Zealand by ENGOs lobbying for a cleaner environment. They've pointed out the obvious -- that many of the country's rivers, streams and lakes are far from 100% pure.

Fortunately, international tourists don't appear to interpret the brand so literally. It may be a tautological leap, but potential tourists clearly see 100% Pure as a relative term - one that strikes a chord with their positive perceptions of our country. 

Indeed, the brand has been so successful in doing this that in 2005 it was valued by Interbrand at US$13.6 billion and ranked as the 21st most valuable brand in the world. (The Independent, 18 June 2009).

Expanding the scope of the brand to include food poses major risks. Trade protection lobbies in Europe play dirty at the best of times and have a track record of piggy backing on ENGO campaigns and slogans that serve their ends.

In WHAM's view, branding a food product 100% pure is an open invitation for a domestic producer in an importing country to prove otherwise. Our advice to Tourism New Zealand: don't do it.

- Trevor Walton

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