Former Primary Industries Minister and Fonterra board aspirant Nathan Guy believes his relationships with bureaucrats in Wellington will help the co-op’s farmers immensely.
People will queue for two hours to get into a Tea Macchiato tea house, a new twist on the traditional and ancient Chinese tea house.
Watson says it has become so popular in the last 12 months that if the trend continues these tea shops could be Fonterra foodservice’s fifth-largest customer this financial year.
A blend of cream, cream cheese and condensed milk – with a salty flavour depending on the formulation – sits as a head on top of a traditional hot or cold tea. The tea and toppings are sold in many different flavours.
“It’s going gangbusters – it is quite amazing,” says Watson.
People will pay others to wait in the queue, then replace them when they reach the front. The tea houses are used for business or entertainment – similar to New Zealanders catching up with others over a coffee, wine or beer -- and the tea houses are open late into the night.
“Like a lot of things do in China, it started in the south,” says Watson. “We started working with some of the operators in the south. Our chefs, using our products, worked with them to help develop the right formulation.
“In China when you compare our competitors’ cream with our cream, functionally ours is the best product for them. It is all to do with the cream not bleeding into the balance of the tea; it is quite technical.
“We worked with some of the leading customers in the south to develop the right solution for them.”