Local food and beverage retailers could have easier access to export markets thanks to new Kiwi-owned freight consolidation service Jetkrate.

The start-up is a first for New Zealand and will offer small parcel freight consolidation allowing consumers to buy goods from Kiwi businesses and have them sent to an Auckland address before being repacked and sent as one package anywhere in the world.

Jetkrate co-founder, Varun Khetrapal, says the new service aims to improve efficiency and replace the daigou (personal shopper) channel which uses personal shoppers to purchase commodities from local retailers and ship them to customers in China as well as reduce the cost of freight for ex-pat Kiwis living overseas. 

“There are two major barriers to Asian consumers shopping directly here for products like Manuka honey, dairy, wine and woollen clothing,” he says.

“The first is not all New Zealand retailers ship overseas or if they do, the shipping costs become prohibitively expensive if customers are buying across multiple businesses.

“The second is about trust; in the same way New Zealanders might struggle to identify suitable online retailers to buy from in a country they have never visited, Chinese buyers rely on personal shoppers to select a supplier on their behalf.

“The new consolidation service removes the shipping barrier and makes it easier to get goods overseas once purchased – that allows the retailer to concentrate on building confidence levels across their customer base.”

The service will allow customers to log in to an online dashboard to manage their orders, adjust their prices, commodity codes, control shipping timing and even have the items gift-wrapped for Christmas.

The idea for Jetkrate first came from watching tourists at the airport fill their suitcases with infant formula and milk powder.

“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.

Khetrapal says they believed the business would be well received in a COVID environment and is designed to support Kiwi businesses too small to deal with international fulfilment.

He says 1,000 customers have already registered to use the service within the first three months of soft-launching the site.