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Manuka Health seals China deal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Leading food science company Manuka Health has taken a major step forward to expand sales in China with the signing of a strategic agreement in Shanghai with Chinese company Sunjoy Marketing and Trading.

Manuka Health’s Chief Executive Officer Kerry Paul says the China deal is very exciting for the company as it moves into its next major growth and development phase.

"The agreement with Sunjoy gives us access to a full range of sales channels with national distribution, not just in traditional consumer channels but the health sector as well," he said.

"As well as looking after distribution, Sunjoy will handle the logistics of things like importing and marketing."

Manuka Health’s total China sales of around $5 million this financial year are expected to double to $10 million in 2015 under the new agreement. Current market share is projected to increase from 10 to 30 percent.

Sunjoy Marketing and Trading Co Ltd, based in Shanghai, is focused on sales of high-end, imported food and nutritional products covering retail channels, and the hospitality, restaurant and catering sectors through its national distribution network.

Through Sunjoy’s partnership with Cardinal Health China, a foreign-owned distributor in China, Manuka Health will also gain access to pharmacies and hospitals for some of its functional food and medical care range, such as wound care dressings.

Mr Paul says Sunjoy and Cardinal Health China together have "enormous distribution capabilities" with centres in eight major Chinese cities servicing some 340 cities across all sales channels.

"There is huge business potential for us in China for a range of Manuka Health products, but we will be introducing them step by step, initially concentrating on east and south China."

While there are about 20 small suppliers of New Zealand honey in China, Manuka Health is presently one of the three major suppliers of manuka honey. As well as its MGO Manuka Honey brand, its exports to China include dietary supplements, gourmet foods and beverages.

Later the company plans to introduce the recently launched CycloPower MGOManuka Honey range to China, and other skin and oral care products. CycloPower delivers the active anti-bacterial ingredient in manuka honey, methylglyoxal, in capsule and chewable tablet form.

Manuka Health was established in 2006 after the discovery of methylglyoxal, the compound largely responsible for manuka honey’s unique, antibacterial activity, by Professor Thomas Henle of the Technical University of Dresden.

A leader in the commercialisation of science-based biotechnologies for human healthcare applications, Manuka Health led the way in establishing accurate methods to measure methylglyoxal levels in manuka honey.

The company markets its manuka honey under the MGO label. For example, MGO 100 Manuka Honey contains a certified 100mg per kg of methylglyoxal, the minimum level for health benefits. The methylglyoxal level is now the accepted industry standard for measuring the antibacterial activity of manuka honey.

Utilising the unique healing properties of manuka honey and other bioactives from New Zealand flora and fauna, such as the green-lipped mussel, the company produces some 80 functional foods, dietary supplements and wound-care products, exporting to 45 countries.

Since its establishment, Manuka Health has achieved compound annual growth of more than 50 percent a year over the last six years with annual sales of $30 million this financial year.

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