European apples “could be in China within a year” according to the EU-funded promotional campaign Bicoloured Apples.
The initiative, which is in the second year of a three-year programme, was set up to promote European apples in China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Speaking at Asia Fruit Logistica last week, trade manager Tomasz Chaber said: “We expect EU apples to be in China within a year, and the best-case scenario would be January. We have met lots of contacts here in Hong Kong who would like to visit Europe and view production and orchards.”
Chaber said Chinese importers and retailers are very interested in the quality levels of European apples, which is a big incentive, as well as the taste of European apples. Promoted varieties under the Bicoloured Apples campaign include Gala, Idared, Champion, Golden Delicious, Gloster and Ligol.
Bicoloured Apples’ primary objective is to educate importers and retailers about the equal benefits of bicoloured apples, compared to the single-colour apples that are typically preferred in Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Its activities include international trade fairs, trade missions, advertising and PR work.
“Asia is a culture of one-coloured apples. We offer bicoloured apples so this is something new for them and we need to educate about the different qualities,” Chaber said.
As an umbrella promotional campaign, Biocoloured Apples represents apples from all European countries, although its headquarters are in Poland. Chaber said most countries are involved but urged UK apple producers to make more use of the programme.
Although not known for its exports, the UK has already made some inroads into Asian markets for its apples. UK supplier Worldwide Fruit recently began exporting apple variety Envy to a Singapore retailer, while M&S in Hong Kong recently started stocking British fruit.
Speaking at the Asiafruit Congress last week, director of the Agricultural Trade Office at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, Melinda Meador, told delegates that Hong Kong consumers are happy to pay more for better-quality fruit.
“Hong Kong consumers appreciate produce from high-regulatory countries, and they are willing to pay for it. There is demand for high-quality produce here,” she said.