Leading New Zealand food producer, Smartfoods, signed a Sourcing Agreement with Tmall, one of Alibaba Group’s business to consumer e-marketplaces in China, at a ceremony in Melbourne.

Signed by Smartfoods Managing Director, Justin Hall and Alvin Liu, General Manager, Tmall Import and Export, the agreement will increase the presence and availability of Vogel’s cereal to the 515 million annual active customers on Alibaba’s e-marketplaces.

The signing took place at an event attended by Alibaba Group CEO, Daniel Zhang. Nine other Australasian companies were invited to participate. However, Smartfoods was the only New Zealand representative.

The agreement is for 20 million Renminbi (NZD$4.5m) worth of Vogel’s cereal to be sold directly to Alibaba for sale through their e-commerce channels, including TMall Direct Import. The cereal will be sold over the course of 12 months.

“While this represents only a portion of Smartfoods overall sales in Greater China, it signals the importance of Alibaba as a key channel for our future growth and our recognition of the benefits of partnering more closely,” explained Smartfoods managing director, Justin Hall.

“Partnering with Alibaba and Tmall will provide some enormous benefits for Smartfoods. Chinese consumers are interested in healthy imported foods and are buying more of their food online than ever before. Working more closely with Alibaba will assure consumers of both greater accessibility to our products and an enhanced shopping experience. Alibaba’s e-marketplace gives us unconstrained access to Chinese consumers and cements Vogel’s position as a leading imported healthy food brand in China.”

Smartfoods has been selling Vogel’s cereals in China via Alibaba for six years. Sales initially were through small Taobao traders and Daigou. In 2016, Smartfoods launched its Official Overseas Flagship store on and sales have accelerated rapidly culminating in more than NZ$1m of Vogels'  exports in one month alone to support the recent Double 11 Shopping Festival in November 2017.

Hall believes that Vogel’s was hand-picked to sign a Sourcing Agreement due to the brand’s sustained growth in China and its track record of e-commerce success.

Since commencing trading in 2004, Smartfoods has expanded at a compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 23% percent with over 50% of percent of revenue now coming from exports.