Comment: Country-of-origin brands like Taste Pure Nature are important for success in New Zealand's primary sector writes Nick Beeby.

The March launch of the red meat sector's Taste Pure Nature country-of-origin brand in the US was an exciting step forward for the sheep and beef sector and our exporting and processing companies.

Recently I discussed who we're targeting with the Taste Pure Nature brand: the 'Conscious Foodie'.

Read more: Beef+Lamb NZ launches 'Taste Pure Nature' campaign in California

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This month I'm taking a step back to answer this question: why have we developed a country-of-origin brand in the first place?

When I described the Conscious Foodies, one of their key characteristics was caring about the provenance of their food – where it's from and how it's produced.

While they care about the origin and production of their food more than the average consumer, within a global context consumers do take country of origin into account in their purchasing decisions, even if they're usually doing so subconsciously.

We know that country-of-origin brands can be very successful.

Across the Tasman, True Aussie has been building the profile of Australia's red meat exports for some time, while Ireland's Origin Green has highlighted the Emerald Isle's push to be seen as a leading sustainable producer of food.

While not directly food related, New Zealand's 100% Pure tourism campaign draws on a similar approach too.

Country of origin is both a cornerstone of and a shortcut to consumer trust, and thanks to the work of 100% Pure and films like Lord of the Rings, New Zealand already sits very highly in the minds of global consumers.

Where there's a gap is that these consumers don't have an understanding of New Zealand's farming systems.

They know us as an amazingly beautiful country that they'd like to visit one day, but the connection to fresh, natural, sustainably produced food isn't quite there.

New Zealand's red meat export and marketing companies have already done a lot of good work in this space, building brands that draw on developing their own unique propositions.

A country-of-origin brand like Taste Pure Nature underpins their work, building a base of trust in New Zealand's farming systems that these companies can leverage off when promoting their own products.

It's why Taste Pure Nature is backed by the export and marketing companies and why they were involved in developing it.

Having seen the success that some of our key red meat competitors were having with their country-of-origin brands, we knew that we needed to do something.

We needed to ensure not only that New Zealand maintained its place in the market, but more importantly that we also took advantage of the growing trend towards naturally raised, grass-fed beef and lamb.

While it's still early days, initial reactions to Taste Pure Nature in the US have been very encouraging, and Beef + Lamb New Zealand is looking forward to working with export and marketing companies as we continue to roll out the brand throughout the year.

- Nick Beeby is General Manager Market Development for Beef + Lamb New Zealand.