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Ukrainian apples a perfect fit for Swedish market

The low production in Sweden during the last apple season, and throughout the rest of Europe, has brought sky high apple prices and has left importers looking to alternative markets to source from. For Swedish importer Hebes, they have had a lot of success with sourcing apples this year from Ukraine and are very positive about what this up and coming market has to offer.

"The most popular apple in Sweden, outside of local production, is the Gala/Royal Gala, so we started there. Although Poland has a nice production and attractive prices, they were not quite what we are looking for in terms of presentation and appearance. This led us to ask the question, where else could we look to find Gala apples with the right look and taste?" said Daniel Larsson from Hebe.

Daniel found his answer in the form of an old contact from Ukraine, who gave him a call, asking if he would be interested in apples from his region.

"My initial reaction was 'no way', but after doing a little research on google, I saw that Ukraine is known as the 'garden of Europe' for apples."

What followed was a visit to Ukraine from the Hebes team, visiting growers and discussing how they could start doing business together. After discussing the layout, along with the necessary certificates, Daniel said that after receiving several trucks so far this year, everything has fallen into place.

"We received the correct quality and the right colour and sizes, with a fantastic taste! The apples were fresh and juicy and really flavourful. We will definitely continue to import our apples from the 'garden of Europe' in the future and have even considered expanding into other kinds of fruits and berries. For now, we plan on importing additional apple varieties from Ukraine. So far we have tried Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji and Florina but there are so many more that it’s worth putting in efforts to launch on the Swedish market," shared an enthusiastic Daniel.

"In comparison to our domestic market, we were able to get our order packed exactly the way we wanted, 2 layers with PLU, without having to pay more. In Sweden, these kinds of requests take time and cost us a small fortune - around two to three times as much. The domestic market is so established and has been working the same way for so long, only sending loose apples in a cardboard box or a returnable plastic crate, without PLU stickers."

Due to the climate, domestic produce is primarily available, and in high demand, from October through December, which means that imports are king for the remaining 8 to 9 months of the year.

"We spend a lot of energy on both Swedish apples and imports, with both markets being extremely important to us. Sourcing apples from Ukraine gives us the opportunity to become stronger and more competitive in the Swedish market. As a company, we strive to be innovative in our response to customer demand, which means that we are always hungry for trying new things," Daniel continued.

"Our market asks for fresh apples which look and taste great, along with an attractive price. We hope it will come from Sweden of course, but as long as the price difference is so big, we need to look for alternatives and for the moment, apples from Ukraine are the perfect match. On top of that, our clients are really taken with the fruit we have received from Ukraine, because they tick all of the boxes, with a vast array of varieties available, and with a smaller price tag than supplies from Central Europe."

For more information:
Daniel Larsson
Hebe Frukt & Grönt AB
Tel: +46 31 780 27 02
Fax: +46 31 19 33 28

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