Stranded Kiwi Expats Craving Comforts of Home

New Zealand ex-pats stranded overseas at Christmas are buying up food care packages full of popular Kiwi brands to ensure they get a taste of home during the silly season.

A package forwarding service owner, Varun Khetrapal, said there are around a million ex-pat New Zealanders living overseas with the three major markets being Australia, UK and USA, followed by Canada, Germany, Singapore, France and Malaysia.

“We Kiwis are very patriotic and there is a big demand in these markets for iconic local brands such as Whittakers, Marmite and L&P as well as New Zealand wines and confectionery.

“There is also a lot of interest in products from local big-box retailers such as The Warehouse and Farmers,” said Khetrapal.

In a first for the country, Khetrapal’s start-up business Jetkrate will offer a small parcel, freight consolidation service which allows consumers to purchase goods from Kiwi businesses and have them shipped to an Auckland address - where they are repacked and sent as one package to any offshore market.

The business is designed to support Kiwi businesses by helping drive demand from overseas customer bases they otherwise may not attract.

Its consolidated shipping model could save consumers two-thirds of the costs of shipping items individually.

“As an example, three separate purchases of chocolate, wine and clothing sent separately from NZ to Canada could cost around $150 - however this cost would be closer to $50 through us.

“We’ll also hold customer’s packages for 30 days and so they can utilise us for storage while they shop online,” he says.

Khetrapal said a digital button they created which can be embedded on retailer websites provides an integrated global shipping option for customers and increases the likelihood of customers shopping there.

Jetkrate have 1,000 mainly export customers registered to use their service within the first three months of soft-launching the site.

“We will also allow customers to login into an online dashboard and manage their orders, adjust their prices, commodity codes, control shipping timing and even have us Christmas giftwrap their products."

Khetrapal, a former Fonterra manager says the idea for the new service took two years to develop and first came from watching tourists at the airport fill their suitcases with infant formula and milk powder.