Steady demand for Indonesian bananas

While Ramadan used to mean diminished sales for the Indonesian banana sector, this year seems to be different. “We’ve noticed a growing trend with regards to healthy products,” says Luthfiany Azwawie. Luthfiany is head of marketing for the Indonesian company Sewu Segar Nusantara, which is part of Sunpride Fruits Distribution. “We think it has to do with consumers becoming more health conscious during the fasting season. They’ve become more critical of the products they eat after nightfall and are choosing healthier options.”

According to Luthfiany, the banana sales aren’t growing much, but they aren’t in decline either. “Our sales are steady, while they were going down in previous years. In general, our sales volume is about the same as last year.”

Luthfiany thinks another major factor for the stable rate of consumption has to do with social media. “People tend to share pictures of their breakfast. Bananas have become more viable options for breakfast, as most consumers in large cities like Jakarta are in a rush and end up stuck in traffic. Bananas are an easy way to start the day.”
Other ways to promote the consumption of bananas have to do with the upcoming Asian Games. “People want a healthier and fitter body, even during Ramadan.”

While other Islamic countries see a surge in potato consumption during Ramadan, this doesn’t really happen in Indonesia. Instead of potatoes, the staple food of Indonesia is rice. However, the country does see more consumption of Chinese garlic during this period.
In general, the Indonesian production of bananas has increased due to lots of rain at the beginning of this year. “We’re going to reach our target of 6 million boxes.”

Imports of other fruits like apples has diminished due to quotas that are being enforced by the Indonesian government.

The brands that are being used are Sunpride, Oriji and Bali Fresh. The main export markets are Japan, China, South Korea, the Middle East and to some extent Singapore. The main competition comes from China and the Philippines. “The price of bananas from the Philippines is much better. The quality is slightly better as well. Filipino banana producers are better prepared than the ones in Indonesia, which leads to a very good production and great volumes. China has had a good year as well. This might cause a price war in the international market for bananas.”
The Indonesian banana production is steady all year round, with similar volumes during every quarter. “Our export depends on the price on the market. If the prices for export are too low, we choose to supply to the local Indonesian market instead.”

The main variety for Sunpride is the Cavendish banana. Though Japan and South Korea are very strict when it comes to import protocol, this is never a problem for the Gunung Sewu plantation, which falls under the PT Nusantara Tropical Farm company. “Our plantations are GlobalGAP certified.”
The Japanese market is showing a trend for more demand. Japanese consumers tend to favor smaller bananas, which is probably due to convenience. Middle Eastern markets seem to be more focused on price, with a preference for South American bananas, such as from Ecuador. However, Luthfiany says it all comes down to quality in the end. “All distribution channels have their own strategy. Premium markets want big bananas, while different stores may ask for different formats, such as clusters of bananas or loose bananas. We can always find channels for every different type of banana.”

For more information:

Luthfiany Azwawie
Sunpride Fruits Distribution
Tel: 0062811961210

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