Fruit South Africa says experts are increasingly surprised at how younger generations in India are buying and consuming products in a very different manner to older or traditional means.
This was the message after the organisation took part at Fresh Produce India (FPI) for the third time, with the country's delegation expressing excitement at being able to engage with the Indian fruit community.
South African fruit is becoming better known in India and continued participation at FPI is seen as an indication to traders that the country is serious about supplying the Indian market.
“Other countries have apparently come and gone,” said the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) in a letter to its growers. “Fresh Produce India provides insights into how the Indian market is evolving at a rapid pace, so strategies can be adjusted or developed accordingly. The CGA and the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) were able to do presentations to the international audience to showcase SA and our fresh fruit industry.
“Besides a large population (1.3bn), including a younger generation which makes up 64 per cent of the demographic, what seems to keep surprising experts is how the younger generations are buying and consuming very differently to older/traditional means,” the CGA said.
According to the delegation, growers and exporters noted some important trends. “Mobile technology is playing a huge role in shifting patterns by providing information to consumers cheaply and abundantly," the group pointed out. "For instance, you can obtain 2gb per day of data at a cost of R7. That is equivalent to a 64gb contract for R211 per month. You might only get 8gb in South Africa for that price per month.
“With mass information flows, branding is important as a sign of consistent quality and hygiene (food safety)," the group continued. "E-commerce has huge potential and key players like big-basket are seeing fresh produce sales expand rapidly."
Attendees were however reminded not to ignore the traditional marketing channels.
“There seems to be some new interest and hope for greater grapefruit imports, although this is off a very small base," they added. "It is critical to build long-term partnerships with buyers, be it for joint promotions or for working through issues that crop up during the course of the season.”
The CGA said it should be noted that other competing campaigns (eg Washington apples or Belgian pears) are spending considerable amounts on promotions and they are extremely well funded programmes.