Vietnam is one of the most promising South East Asian markets for Washington, WAC president Todd Fryhover told Capital Press. Washington apples were displacing Chinese product from the shopping baskets of upper and middle income consumers, he said.
“The middle class is buying our apples over China’s because ours are perceived as healthier,” Mr Fryhover stated. “We focus at retail to the middle and upper income. We’re taking the higher-end consumer away from China.”
Sales of Washington apples in Vietnam have shot from just 75,171 cartons in 2003/04 to 337,431 cartons this season as of 15 January, with the expectation sales will hit 400,000 cartons by the end of the year to make up a 35 per cent growth.
Vietnamese consumers were also diversifying from the traditional small-sized Galas, Mr Fryhover added, and were now also buying Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious and Rome.
Mr Fryhover said the WAC’s goal was to make Vietnam a 700,000 carton market within five years, Capital Press reported, a target the Commission has been supporting with promotional campaigns for a number of seasons now.
Indonesia is also rocketing upwards for Washington apples – the market bought 1.8m cartons last season, and as of 31 January sales were up 73.5 per cent this season.
While the Indonesian market is still focused on Red Delicious, it was now taking 13 different varieties from Washington, Mr Fryhover said.
Thailand and Malaysia-Singapore, meanwhile, are more mature markets, and bought 774,073 cartons and 590,346 cartons last season respectively. The Malaysian market has increased imports this year, however.