Health and wellness company Fiji Kava (FIJ) has been growing its market presence across the South Pacific through an exclusive agreement with leading distributor CJ Patel for its Taki Mai range of products.
On March 14, FIJ announced CJ Patel had placed initial purchase orders for Taki Mai ‘Low Key’, kicking off the $11 million, three-year deal across 17 countries.
Fiji’s native kava plant has won significant and growing global support. It is seen as a natural solution to calm nerves, support mind and muscle relaxation and induce sleep. The plant can be administered through capsules, extracts and ready-to-drink products.
And Fiji Kava is the first and only foreign company with approval from the Fijian government to operate within the kava industry.
The company has spent years building its vertical “farm-to-shelf” operation and boasts a nucleus farm of over 100 acres in Levuka, supported by eight regional growing hubs across the Fijian islands.
Today, Fiji Kava works with the Ministry of Agriculture in Fiji to generate better awareness and transparency with regard to how the root is produced, processed and sold. The company’s Taki Mai brand is the industry standard for quality.
All of FIJ’s kava is tested for kavalactones and other pharmaceutical properties at its Navua facility before export.
In a move seen to acknowledge the safety and health benefits of kava, Australia has recently removed its restrictions on the importation of powdered kava, and Fiji Kava’s products are now available in Coles, Chemist Warehouse and many other locations.
Other export markets include the USA where the company has announced an agreement with The Vitamin Shoppe to stock Taki Mai concentrated dietary shots and China where products are available on the Ali Baba platform.
The global opportunity
Fiji Kava believes the global opportunity for kava is immense.
The Fijian domestic kava market is valued at around FJD295 million (A$200 million), and the CJ Patel deal puts Fiji Kava in the pole position to establish clear market leadership.
But the Taki Mai deal is bigger than just Fiji: it extends to a further 16 international markets including New Zealand, Australia, PNG, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, East Timor, Canada, USA, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Wallis and Futuna and Vanuatu.
The 13 Pacific island nations in this agreement have a collective population of over 2.5 million people. On top of this, the Fijian diaspora living in Australia, New Zealand and Canada represent a market of a further 600,000, and a further 1.4 million Pacific Islanders live in the USA including native Hawaiians.
The demand for kava has now extended well beyond the Pacific Islands.
The global natural medicine, sleep, sports recovery, and anti-anxiety market is expected to exceed US$210 billion (AUD$309 billion) by 2026. Fiji Kava plans to leverage this demand with both new product announcements and new distribution partnership announcements for key global markets.
Products designed for these new markets are well-advanced. Dietary shots have been developed for The Vitamin Shoppe in the USA, and FIJ is currently developing other ready-to-drink formats to extend its product line on an international basis.
“We have initiated work with CJ Patel group to produce a 200mL tetrapacked ready-to-drink kava product,” Fiji Kava Group CEO Anthony Noble said.
“We intend to use traditional and local ingredients, such as a coconut water base, to add to the functional benefits of kava and create an attractive but authentic taste profile.”
The company has a vision to deliver natural solutions that aid calmness and relaxation on a global basis.
Fiji Kava is listed on the ASX (FIJ) and plans to rebrand as ‘The Calmer Co’ this year.