New Zealand’s largest organic apple exporter is experiencing it’s highest ever demand from Asia markets.
BOSTOCK New Zealand International Trader Jane Maclean says this season has seen growing sales and linkages into the Asian market with organic apple volumes increasing from just a handful of airfreighted pallets to Singapore in 2007 to now shipping a significant number of containers across 8 different Asia markets in the 2016 season.
“Traditionally, Asian consumers have bought organic certified products from specialist organic shops but we are now starting to see a push from mainstream retailers across Asia to increase organic dedicated shelf space and widen their organic product range availability across all grocery lines,” said Ms Maclean.
The Asia demand for organics is being driven by an increasing concern with food safety after several high profile food scares in Asia in recent years.
“Parents are doing their research on what is best for their children and are seeking out organic products as an added assurance of health and food safety.
Disease and diet related illnesses are on the rise and customers are also looking to organic as a way of either combating or preventing these illnesses.”
In addition to concerns around food safety, the rise in disposable incomes across Asia has meant more consumers can afford to buy organic produce.
“While organic dedicated stores are still an important part of the organic supply chain in Asia markets, these new consumers are pushing their local retailer to carry more organic lines which is seeing the growth in mainstream sales for BOSTOCK New Zealand organic apples.”
However Ms Maclean says more education is needed on the benefits of organic produce to continue to increase sales in mainstream channels.
“There is a lot of confusion and distrust from consumers around ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ labeling on both domestic and imported goods in Asia markets. Too many companies are liberally using the words natural or organic on questionable products.”
BOSTOCK apple orchards are all 100% BioGro certified organic. BioGro is the biggest organic certifier in New Zealand and carries nine international accreditations.
“Every one of our apples shipped to Asia carries the BioGro logo on the label to assure the end consumer of its organic authenticity guaranteeing that no synthetic pesticides or other artificial substances have been used to grow our apples. All our shipments have full traceability from the orchard through to the customer.”
A new and growing market for BOSTOCK New Zealand is China where the company has WIT accredited China Organic Product Certification.
It is one of a few fresh produce companies worldwide, which has attained this accreditation and can export organic produce direct to China.
“It’s a market that has a very clear focus on fruit quality, the appearance and the eating experience of the apple and they are prepared to pay a good price for very good quality apples.
“China has its own domestic organic production but the majority of this is in vegetables or processed grocery lines. As a result we have had to work hard to develop a category that doesn’t exist in retail channels. We now have solid foundations and strong new partnerships here, which we look forward to growing over the coming years.”
Ms Maclean says apples grown in Hawke’s Bay are GMO Free, which is also attractive for the Asian market.
“Having full traceability from the orchard to fruit bowls across the world means the end consumer is assured their apples are being grown naturally in pure Hawke’s Bay.”