Meanwhile New Zealand apples also growing in popularity

German apples reach the Taiwanese market for the first time

Apples are an important fruit for Taiwan. However, because of the tropical weather, most of its apples are imported. As Penny Chang, responsible for the import section at Carrefour Taiwan, explains: “The local apples are grown during October to December and for the rest of the season we have imported apples. Apples are a best seller among all imported fruits. They are considered to be healthy and the red color of the apples attracts Taiwanese customers, because the color red in Chinese culture represents good luck, happiness and well-being. In Taiwan there is a tropical climate which is not a perfect condition for growing apples and therefore 95 percent of the apples in Taiwan are imported from other countries.”

As Penny further explains, the most popular apple variety in Taiwan is the Fuji apple, especially at the wholesale markets. “At Carrefour Taiwan we try to distinguish ourselves by offering different apple varieties to our customers. In this way we give our customers the opportunity to also try other apple varieties all year long. For example, in February we imported one container of Pink Lady apples from France to try in the Taiwanese market. Thanks to the support of the Pink Lady marketing team, which held some store sampling activities, the apples were sold out within a month. Though the Taiwanese consumers are not totally used to the taste of Pink Lady yet, there was some positive feedback from customers but most of them prefer sweeter and crunchier apples. Since most Taiwanese enjoy eating fruits after dinner, therefore the preference is for fruits to be as sweet as possible.”

Pink Lady promotion activity

New Zealand apples growing in popularity
“Currently, the newest apple crops are available from the Southern Hemisphere such as New Zealand, Chile and South Africa. Most of the apples that are still left in the northern Hemisphere are from the old stock. It’s a strategy of Carrefour Taiwan that the fruits are provided to customers freshly and seasonally by availability. So therefore we now start importing apples from the Southern Hemisphere. Last year in May we had a very good promotion program with a lot of different apple varieties from New Zealand. We received many positive feedbacks and therefore we made a similar promotion plan for this year which will start at the end of May. Though Chilean apples are still the most popular in the Taiwanese market, especially at the wholesale market. The Fuji apples from Chile are crunchy and taste much sweeter than the New Zealand apples. In the last few years, the sugar level of New Zealand Fuji apples has improved a lot and therefore they are also growing in popularity.”

“There are two important reasons why the New Zealand apples are so well received in the Taiwanese market. First of all, New Zealand produces a lot of new apple varieties like Envy, Diva, Posy, Dazzle etc., which attracts the consumers attention and stimulates the sales. For this year in May, we selected 10 different varieties to sell. Furthermore, Taiwan has a free trade agreement with New Zealand and therefore there is a zero duty policy on New Zealand fruits. This makes the prices of New Zealand more competitive than the ones from other countries and more attractive to our customers.”

Difficult Import from Europe
But importing fruits to Taiwan is still a challenge, as Penny Chang explains: “Most of the fruits from European countries are not allowed to be imported to Taiwan due to the phytosanitary regulations about the Mediterranean fruit flies. Therefore a lot of fruits are forbidden, from countries such as Italy, Spain, Holland, Poland, etc. Only kiwis from Italy and France and some apples from France are allowed to enter Taiwan.”

Unless these restrictions, a local importer succeeded this year to import some German apples into Taiwan. Penny Chang started to introduce some test samples into Carrefour stores to receive some feedback of customers. “This year, after a lot of effort, the German apples from the Alten Land region and southern parts of Germany were finally allowed to be imported into Taiwan. The very first container of German apples arrived in April, it was imported by a Taiwanese local importer named Crown Fruits and 336 boxes of Prince apples were sold to the retail channel named Wellcome. The rest of the apples are being sold to the wholesale markets. ”

Penny Chang and suppliers of Red Prince apple from Germany

 “We are looking forward to the next season new crop apples from Germany starting in September. They arrive in Taiwan by sea freight and this takes about 35 days. In the meantime we are also looking at the cherries from Germany. However, it’s still up in the air whether they are allowed to be imported to Taiwan or not and hopefully we'll be able to have them in 2020 during summer time. If we import the German cherries, these will go by air freight due to the precious character of the cherries.”

Taiwanese fruits versus imported fruits
Besides importing fruits, Taiwan is also a large tropical fruit producer itself. As summer is coming, the temperature in Taiwan is also rising, because it is located in a tropical and sub-tropical zone. “There are already a lot of locally grown tropical fruits available now. Furthermore, the price is also quite low, thanks to the good weather, a large amount of watermelons, melons, mangoes, pineapples and lemons were produced. All perfect fruits for customers to cool off from the summer heat.”

“In order to make the imported fruits still attractive for customers, while there is a lot of local grown fruits on the market for competitive prices, we focus on the counter-seasonal fruits. Such as the apples of New Zealand, or kiwi fruit from New Zealand. Or we import fruits that are not available on the local market, like durians from Thailand. We also import other products, like blueberries, cherries and stone fruits from the US. We are constantly searching for new cooperation opportunities or new varieties, to supply our customers with the best and most diverse fruits in Taiwan Carrefour.”


Penny Chang
Carrefour Taiwan

Publication date:

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

© 2019

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber