T&G Global, one of New Zealand’s largest apple grower-exporters, says market conditions this year have been slightly better for the country’s fruit than the previous season, despite some challenges in certain countries.
Overall the company has experienced a 10% increase in total production over 2017, largely driven by its proprietary apples Envy and Jazz.
Staples like Braeburn are flat along with Pacific Queen and Pacific Rose, while Royal Gala is down due to seasonal growing conditions.
Darren Drury, T&G’s executive general manager for pipfruit, says while the 2017 frost event across the EU impacted volumes, the market velocity has been good with stronger prices achieved across most varieties in most EU countries.
“With the drop in EU production, including French, Italian and U.K. apples, we have seen less EU fruit shipped to Asia and very little overhang of crop, giving New Zealand fruit a better platform,” he said.
“Again, sales values and demand have been steady across Asia. The U.K. has been equally steady with values and sales going according to plan.
“The U.S. has been more of a challenge this year due to a large volume of small-sized fruit from domestic crops contributing to a flat market for apples in the traditional New Zealand import window.”
Growth in China, challenges in Taiwan
The New Zealand apple industry remains buoyant with a 10% increase in production in 2018 over 2017, Darren said.
“The T&G proprietary varieties continue to grow at faster rates with both JAZZ and Envy significantly up on 2017 volumes,” he said.
“We have been very encouraged at the continued growth in Vietnam including a significant launch at retail. Envy, in particular, has been a star performer in Vietnam, but we are excited at the prospect for JAZZ as the volumes continue to grow.
“China is also a growth story with 2018 seeing significant increases in Envy and JAZZ volume with a heavy focus on brand development and deepening the distribution channel. Taiwan has been impacted by Chilean and South African Fuji but Indonesia has had good demand for apples despite their quota causing imbalances at end of selling season from August to October.”
Darren says the Middle East and Thailand have been slower starting than usual but are picking up well now.
“Malaysia is also steadier than previous years and retail is increasingly strong. Singapore and Hong Kong sales are steady for T&G thanks to mainly retail programmes with good Envy growth,” he said.
U.S. tariffs and Northern Hemisphere heatwave
On the potential opportunities presented through increased tariffs for U.S. fruit to China, Darren said T&G has no plans to extend its season. He explained it would prefer to focus on delivering New Zealand fruit in a window that doesn’t clash with Northern Hemisphere supply, including Chinese apples.
“We are also pleased at the growth in volume to the Japanese market with the primary focus on JAZZ and strengthening the retail programs that have been put in place through volume and brand/promotional support. This growth is despite a challenging market access protocols,” he said.
“The focus for the balance of the New Zealand export season is to ensure we maintain a strong presence across key markets and continue to support customers with greater marketing investment, sampling demos, retail multi packs etcetera to build brand presence with consumers.
“The Northern Hemisphere has had an unusually hot period as a pre-cursor to their harvest period and our focus will be to ensure we have sold through our key varieties in a timely manner.”