New Zealand’s Largest Organic Apple Grower Expands Further into Vietnam
New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower has taken another big step towards growing its Asian markets, setting up an office in Vietnam.
Vietnam is the third offshore office Bostock New Zealand has opened in three years with companies also in Far East Russia and North America.
Bostock New Zealand International Market Manager, Jane Maclean says after seeing first-hand the benefits of in-market local representation, Vietnam was a natural progression for the next office as there has been such huge growth in this market
Vietnam is a key destination for all global produce suppliers, with the economy’s growth rate in recent years amongst the world’s highest.
In the past five years Bostock New Zealand has seen its Vietnam apple volumes increase by 2000%.
“Having staff on the ground here means we can quickly understand and respond when markets inevitably change – from evolving sales channels, to consumer trends, to simple supply and demand. Allowing us to truly capitalise on opportunities.”
Stronger customer relationships are also an added benefit says Ms Maclean.
“While our Bostock New Zealand based traders usually travel at least 4 times a year, when borders are open, it is clear to us that having someone local in the market provides a stronger, layered level of service and support to our customers – especially as our business grows.”
Ms Maclean says the Vietnam import apple market has changed from selling primarily into wholesale and wet markets to the rapid development of the modern retail sector.
“Our conventional apple business, all supplied by our long-time family growers, remains strong here. Vietnam retailers are taking a larger volume of our shipments directly every season. About 40% of our conventional apples now go direct to retail with the booming new middle-class population all looking for quality imported fruit”.
“However, it has been really exciting to see the demand grow for our organic apples in the last two years. Vietnamese are placing a stronger focus and priority on their personal health and food safety and higher disposable incomes means they can now purchase organic products.”
This 2021 season Bostock New Zealand expects to see organic sales increase 300% from last season.
Bostock New Zealand’s new office is in Ho Chi Minh City and the company’s market representative, Huong Nguyen, will be the everyday interface with customers and will look for new opportunities and report on market activity.
“When we opened the Vietnam office, we knew that finding the right local person, would be crucial to our success. Huong has 7 years of working in the produce sector – including for other foreign owned entities. Huong also has a special understanding of produce because as a young child, her family used to farm Pomelo and a range of vegetables, in her hometown in the Mekong Delta,” said Ms Maclean.
“With the sales of organic apples increasing and the development of our premium IP apple varieties, we now need strong marketing and promotional campaigns to better target the end consumer. Having a Vietnam office means we can better support our retail partners with marketing.”
Our import partners will continue to be the integral and primary part of our market distribution as they add real value to our business in Vietnam.
“There are several small organic and natural focused distributors and retailers – either single store or with a handful of stores only – who would love to buy direct off the farmer but aren’t handling enough volume to do. We can also see potential opportunities for our onions and squash, products which we don’t currently ship to Vietnam as the market is still limited”
New Zealand’s first shipments of new season Organic apples are arriving in Vietnam in April – including Dazzle apples, which Ms Maclean says has now become the most sought-after New Zealand apple in the market, after a very successful 2020 season.
“The Hawkes Bay growing season has been good, and the weather has provided the perfect growing and harvesting conditions. There have been lots of sunny days and cooler nights which means our Bostock fruit has coloured well and is looking beautiful. We are very happy with the quality this season,” said Ms Maclean.