U.S.: Washington Apples sits out of Indian cricket campaign

Countries More News Today's Headline
U.S.: Washington Apples sits out of Indian cricket campaign

In recent years, industry body Washington Apples has appealed to a wide range of Indian consumers by sponsoring local cricket teams. This season, however, lower import volume has pushed the commission to consider alternative sales efforts. In a move toshutterstock_130339976 appeal to second and third-tier markets, Washington has stepped away from the cricket pitch and implemented wholesale promotions to reward loyal buyers.

Although Washington considers India promising as an importer, a weak rupee and large fruit sizing has deterred greater movement of Washington apples this year, explained export marketing director, Rebecca Lyons.

"The biggest factor this year is that India likes small-sized Red Delicious. Our crop sizing this year is on the larger size, so we just don’t have the supply available. When I talk with our shippers here, they say they have more orders than they can fill," Lyons told www.freshfruitportal.com.

"For some of our markets, it has been a bit difficult because they have very specific size needs. I know our shippers have been working with them to get them to move up a size or two."

Coming off of a record year for volume, Lyons explained Washington has experienced a natural decline this season. Across all export markets, the state has reported about a 7% decrease in volume compared to last year.

During this boom period, the commission carried out its second year of sponsorship for Indian cricket teams. As the official fruit of the Delhi Daredevils and the Royal Challengers of Bangalore, Washington Apples reached out to a wide demographic of Indians, united by a common love for cricket.

This season, however, Washington has left its cricket sponsorship in favor of more traditional promotions and direct appeals to fruit vendors.

"We are not doing the cricket promotion. We have moved into a different structure. Obviously shipments are down. We're really trying to stimulate growth and development in the second and third-tier markets rather than just focusing on the largest metro areas, which are typically the ones that have these cricket teams," Lyons said.

The new structure has translated into fruit samplings and outreach to buyers.

"We are conducting our big wholesale market promotion. That is specifically targeting south India. Everybody who buys a box of Washington apples during the promotion gets a ticket. We have weekly prize drawings in six or seven south Indian second and third-tier markets that are serviced out of Chennai," Lyons said.

The idea behind the giveaway is to encourage vendors to continue buying from Washington state and reward them for their loyalty.

"It's really trying to target the small street vendors and there are just thousands of them. These guys have an opportunity to win gifts like a flashlight or a rain suit. We have a grand prize that's usually something like a motor scooter or small appliances that are really very esteemed," she said.

"Typically we have run this kind of promotion to stimulate sales and movement. This year it has been challenging just to get fruit for that market. In addition to that, it's really a thank you for staying with Washington and supporting Washington apples. Next year, we're going to need these guys even more."

If natural production patterns follow course, Lyons said next year should bring better conditions for Indian sales.

"I think this is something we're just seeing this season. Typically we have alternate bearings, so we would anticipate next year that we'll have more smaller-sized fruit and that would be a very good thing for markets like India and Indonesia that like the small-sized Red Delicious. Long term, we're very positive about the possibilities on the Indian market," she said.

Related stories: India: IG International set for record Chilean apple imports

Weak rupee drags on Indian fruit imports

U.S.: Washington apples hit for six in India

Photo: www.shutterstock.com




Subscribe to our newsletter