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Mike Knowles



Origine says demand is strong in Asia and Spain

Italian group's kiwifruit notes growing interest from Far East buyers as it prepares to launch major promotional drive in Spain

Origine says demand is strong in Asia and Spain

Origine Group's Reen Nordin (centre) and Alessio Orlandi (right) with a Taiwanese customer at Macfrut 2017

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Almost two years since its establishment, Italian export consortium Origine Group says it is attracting new interest from potential buyers in Asia, a market in which the prospects for increasing sales of its flagship, Sweeki-branded kiwifruit and pear products are apparently strong.

Speaking at the Macfrut trade fair in Rimini on 10-12 May, and ahead of the launch of a major new promotional campaign in one of its target markets Spain, the group’s general manager Alessio Orlandi said new contacts made during the event were reason for optimism as the company approaches its third full campaign for the two fruit categories.

“We met various clients from the Far East, including China and Taiwan, who believe in our Sweeki project, the brand we want to use to promote high-quality and competitively priced ‘Made in Italy’ Hayward kiwifruit in Italy and the world,” he commented.

“These contacts will help us to plan the 2017/18 campaign in time,” he added,”and we strongly believe in the Far East markets from where we’ve received strong signs of interest.”

Now that Italy has access to China for its kiwifruit, but not yet its pears. “I recall when the first container of Sweeki-branded kiwifruit arrived in China around in early January, we organised a various promotional initiatives at the wholesale market in Guangzhou and in a chain of supermarkets, and the signs then were very positive,” Orlandi continued.

“Here in Rimini also, we met representatives from multinational chains present in the Far East who asked for information about the Sweeki project.”

Exporting as one

Bringing together diverse, competing commercial entities has always been a key priority for Origine, which counts nine major industry players – Afe, Apofruit, Frutta C2, Granfrutta Zani, Kiwi Uno, Op Kiwi Sole, Pempa-Corer, Salvi-Unacoa and Spreafico – among its founding members.

To that end, part of its strategy in future will be to welcome other companies into the fold, as well as potentially embarking on similar campaigns for products besides Sweeki kiwifruit and its Pera Italia pear label.

Alberto Garbuglia, the consortium’s managing director, welcomed the “interest from different Italian companies towards Origine Group”, which he said had emerged as a model of aggregation that could be broadened to included other players with different strengths.

The imminent launch of Sweeki’s promotional drive in Spain will see product sampling and other events take place within and outside MercaMadrid, the Spanish capital’s main wholesale market for fresh produce.

Other similar activities are due to be held around Madrid, where Garbuglia said consumers will be able to appreciate first-hand “the quality, sweetness and excellent balance between quality and price”, which he said was aimed at satisfying market demand in Spain for a “high-quality alternative to the dominant brand”, namely New Zealand brand Zespri.

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