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RK Growers

Big Opportunities in the East for Italian growers

RK Growers is an Italian partnership cooperating with Italian and foreign fruit and vegetables growers to market their products in Italy and abroad. The company is well known for its portfolio of premium fruit varieties, which includes Ambrosia apples and Arra grapes, sold in Italy and abroad. The company has offices in Italy and Russia, and, increasing its focus on the Asian market, has established a dedicated sales team in Hong Kong.

Paolo Carissimo is the company’s Italian director. He sees ample opportunity in Asia’s growth markets.
Opportunities in the East for Italian growers
“When we decided to launch a sales office in Asia, we were looking for someone that has the skill and mentality to trade in these markets. RK Growers has established trade links with Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and China, and we are currently exporting to these markets. We are working on trade protocols and market access with Vietnam and Malaysia.”

“We are strengthening our focus on Asia, as we realised this is the only way to go forwards. Markets in the East are changing very fast. That is how we realised we needed people in place locally to monitor changes and to get into the online business, which is also growing rapidly. The population in Asia is large and becoming more affluent, whereas markets in Europe, North and South America have become relatively saturated. In Europe, retailers are powerful, which makes it harder to manoeuvre for growers. That is why we are looking for new horizons.”

“Asian markets, however, are difficult markets. Consumers expect prime products and growers have to make careful selections before sending over their crop in order to succeed and have good returns. The population is large, but one should keep in mind that premium imported fruits only target a small segment of the total market. Therefore understanding the consumers and their demands are key in order to succeed and have good returns.”

Varieties and quality are key
“In order to sell our crops successfully we focus on speciality produce that can generate higher margins. We believe our strength lies in making available varieties and brands that are not locally available. Branding is important in Asia. One cannot jump-start sales, there is a need to invest in brand building, strengthening the public image and having a clear growth strategy. It is important to remember that the expectations of consumers are high, and that, in order to succeed, one must not disappoint.”

“Kiwifruit is a widely grown and available fruit in China. One might wonder how Italian kiwifruit can be successful on this market. Even though local production is plentiful, regular industrial processes with specifications are more rare. Production and distribution is fragmented, which makes it unstable and creates problems for quality control, storage and shipment. Here, our imported brands can make a difference and provide for a product that is not available locally. Therefore we have a few labels specifically studied and designed for the Chinese and Taiwanese market that showcase these characteristics. This is what RK Growers can do very well.”

Italian apples next big step
“Italy is very close to receiving market access for apples. Apples are now on top of the list of fresh produce trade negotiations between Italy and China, and we expect this to happen within the coming one or two seasons.”

“In China, our strength will be premium quality apples and varieties that cannot be produced locally. We are currently having a number of high profile meetings with some of Italy’s largest apple growers. We are working towards an important export agreement, of which RK Growers will be a leading member. Together, we are able to present the Chinese and Asian market with a wide range of special apple varieties. When the trade protocol is finally established, we will be ready with a very complete portfolio of premium Italian varieties. This will be interesting for retailers and online marketeers as this offering has strong commercial power.”

“Once the Chinese market opens for Italian apples, we are going to be very well positioned to serve it.”

RK Growers has a stand at Asia Fruit Logistica at Hall 3b G-17
For more information:
Paolo Carissimo
RK Growers

Publication date: 9/5/2017
Author: Anouk Sijmonsma
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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