Chilean apples get good buzz in Russia
Interest in marketing Chilean apples in Russia is growing as import volumes and the perception of quality grows, Chile's state investment promotion agency Prochile said in a statement.
Citing data from the country's exporters association (ASOEX) news site,
SimFRUIT, there has been a clear increase in Chilean apples in 2010 compared with the previous year, and importers are aware of the difference of quality in Chilean apples compared to other supplying markets.
"Chilean apples are recognized by Russian importers. Distributors are well aware of the differences between apples from Chile and those coming from Argentina and the difference is playing in favor of the Chilean apples,"
Tatyana Novikova, buying manager of Nevskaya Co., is quoted as saying.
As of week 38, shipments of Chilean apples to Russia reached 38,607 tons, compared with 30,643 tons in 2009.
Specifically, good quality and sound packing processes have caught attention of Russian importers.
"As a general rule, Chilean apples arrive to Russia in good condition. The quality is sufficient for our needs in terms of color, peel cleanliness and shine, packing processes and in general shows an overall good appearance," Novikova said.
Moreover the the longer shelf life of Chilean apples and a sound price for retailers also adds to the apples;' acceptance in Russia.
"Distributors distinguish and look for Chilean apples. They have a better post-harvest life and store better," Dmitry Gersimov, Latin American fruit import manager of JFC Company, is quoted as saying.
Russian consumers tend to eat more green apples, especially Chile's
Granny Smith variety. The Granny Smith represents more than half of all Chilean apple shipments to Russia, reaching 19,797 tons this year compared with 16,214 tons in 2009.
In terms of size, 80, 90, 100 and 120 are preferred, with a uniform and color, Novikova added.
However there are still areas that Chile lags behind its prime competitor in Russia, Argentina.
For red apples, an intense color is preferred by consumers, something that has benefited Argentine Pink Lady varieties due to their superior color and appearance. The Argentine pear is also considered by Russian importers as superior to its Chilean counterpart.
But according to the report, trust is also a key factor for Russian importer's focus on Chilean products, as exporters generally follow through with their promises and are able to comply with shipment volumes agreed to pre-season, the report said.
However Chilean exporters tend to limit shipments if the market in
Russia does not offer a competitive price, and instead ship to other, higher-paying markets.
"If the price is not attractive [Chilean exporters] will send their products to other receiving markets," Novikova said.