Italy's apple industry is preparing to spend a significant sum of money on new marketing initiatives in Asia as it bids to consolidate recently accessed markets and potential new trade opportunities in the region.
At the forthcoming Asia Fruit Logistica trade exhibition in Hong Kong, national industry association Assomela will share a stand with Trentino-based cooperative APOT, apple marketer Consorzio Melinda and major South Tyrolean apple producer organisations VOG and VI.P, as well as the sector’s emerging markets joint venture From.
As the group’s international relations officer, Giulia Montanaro, explains, work continues in earnest to raise awareness of Italy’s apples in Asia and to boost exports, highlighting the uniqueness of the country’s production regions.
“We have been working for years to open key markets for Italian apples,” she observes. “In the last year we have continued to negotiate with three countries in the region – Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand. In May/June 2019 we visited the three countries and met phytosanitary officials with the support of Italian representatives in each country. The meetings were an excellent chance to meet and we believe we will soon open Vietnam and Taiwan.”
However, even in those countries, Italy must continue to negotiate to obtain more manageable protocols for Italian exporters, even though the products themselves are already in demand. For that reason, a new promotional campaign part-financed by the EU will involve a series of activities in Vietnam, as well as India, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“Other than traditional marketing and tastings at point of sale, these activities will involve meeting potential importers and journalists in each country, using social media, taking part in trade fairs, sponsoring events, advertising and trade missions,” Montanaro reveals.
Nicola Zanotelli is director of From, which will play a leading role in rolling out the campaign’s various activities in those markets.
He says the opportunity to corner a bigger share of the Indian market in particular is a good one. “Last season, there was strong interest for From apples grown in the Italian Alps, mainly due to a general lack of premium product in what is a constantly growing market,” he says.
“Thanks to this fortunate market situation, it was therefore possible to enhance the product and at the same time manage volumes that had never before been reached in India.
"The hope for the near future is that Indian imports continue to focus on products that are suited for sale in terms of their quality, something that will help to stabilise a market that is in itself complicated, and allowing all market players to make adequate and constant earnings.”