COVID-19 lockdown: NZ supplement firms allowed operation if supplying to 'essential' businesses

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

New Zealand's dietary supplement companies are allowed to continue manufacturing if they supply to 'essential' businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies. ©Getty Images
New Zealand's dietary supplement companies are allowed to continue manufacturing if they supply to 'essential' businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies. ©Getty Images

Related tags New zealand COVID-19

The New Zealand supplement firms will be allowed to continue operations so long as they supply to 'essential' businesses, such as pharmacies and supermarkets.

Health foods stores, however, are not considered 'essential' businesses. 

This is according to a notice titled ‘Guidance for Essential Services’ that the New Zealand Natural Health Products (NZNHP) issued last week.

“We have received advice from the Government that if your business is part of the supply chain for an essential business, it may continue to supply those critical products and services to the essential businesses only,”​ it said in the notice.

In the event that a company supplies to both ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ outfits, they must only continue to supply those which are considered ‘essential’. 

The trade body earlier wrote to the authorities​ to clarify whether the supplements sector is considered an 'essential service' after the country enters the Alert Level 4 lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.

NutraIngredients-Asia ​understands that the Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) has also written to the authorities to clarify if dietary supplements belong to ‘essential businesses’ during the country’s lockdown and that it is still waiting for a confirmation.  

Certainty amid uncertainties

Some of the supplement brands that can still be manufactured in New Zealand include Clinicians - a subsidiary under Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

"Douglas is an essential business in New Zealand which means we will continue to be fully operational through the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown, albeit in a different way," ​the company’s China Market Manager, Carlos Zhao, told us.

He said that while staying open during the lockdown would bring along some challenges, it also provided them with more certainty as the company's business continued to service its customers, which he said was "a certainty which many do not have."

Clinicians' products, including probiotics for women’s health and nasal spray, are available in China via e-commerce retail on Tmall Global.

Asked the impacts on its business in China, Zhao said that the effect was mainly on the supply of the products amid growing demand.

"As the number of flights has reduced, it is taking longer and cost more to ship products across. 

"Whereas for demand, we see an uplift of sales which benefits from our condition specific online approach in China," Zhao said.

Others health foods firms which have been classed as an ‘essential business’ included Manuka honey maker Comvita, according to its market update on NZX.

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