Rights: University of Waikato. All rights reserved. Published 24 September 2013 Download

Fabien Maisonneuve, Quality Control Manager at Zealong, discusses innovation in relation to Zealong. Fabien explains that what makes Zealong innovative is the points of difference between their tea and other teas on the market.

Focus questions

  • What are the key differences between Zealong tea and other teas on the market?
  • What challenges does Zealong face in marketing their tea?
  • Why would consumers choose Zealong tea over other teas on the market?
  • Who are the likely consumers of Zealong tea?
  • Explore other Innovation stories to identify where a point of difference from other similar products is also important.

Student challenge

  • In small groups, have students prepare a convincing marketing speech promoting the advantages of Zealong tea to pitch to an audience of traditional tea drinkers.
  • Have each group prepare one member of their group to pitch the speech.
  • Each speechmaker presents to the class, and students select and justify the most convincing marketing pitch.


Fabien Masionneuve:

For Zealong, innovation means thinking outside the box – do something that our competition has never done before. Try and sell the tea differently, try and educate people into realising that tea is not just a commodity product. It’s not just tea bags. It should be considered a high-value high-quality product just as much as wine is.

It’s taken about 30, 40 years for the New Zealand wine industry to develop into getting worldwide recognition. I think tea should be the same – trying to educate people into realising that tea is high quality, it’s high value and it’s good for you as well.

Zealong tea is an innovative product in two ways. The first one and the most obvious one, we are the only tea plantation in New Zealand, so we are pioneering in the industry here. We hope that, in the future, New Zealand tea will be as famous as New Zealand kiwifruit – that’s what we aim for.

The second aspect of innovation at Zealong tea would be treating our tea as a food product all along the chain, meaning from growing to packaging, we do not treat the tea as a crop, as an agricultural product, we treat it as a food product. And to our knowledge, we’re the only ones to do so in the world.

Fabien Masionneuve & Vincent Chen, Zealong Tea
Zealong, Eterna Holdings Ltd