Pink Lady® master licensee holders, TopFruit, last month held their first Nigerian market activation at the Arena Market in Lagos where almost a thousand market sellers as well as end-consumers had the opportunity to taste South African-grown Pink Lady® apples.
The apple is not yet as well-known in Nigeria as in some East African countries like Kenya which currently takes about half of all Pink Lady® exported from South Africa.
The activation first focused on street sellers and later on consumers, explaining the uniquely crunchy characteristics of the brand.
The total production sold under the Pink Lady® brand in South Africa during 2018 came to 28,000 tonnes, of which 5,900 tonnes, or 21%, went to African markets, making it South Africa’s third largest Pink Lady® market. Nigeria still makes up a fraction of African sales, just over 2% last year, but given the country’s 190 million population, growth possibilities are large. The cultivar was first sold under the Pink Lady® brand in Nigeria in 2013.
Until the end of July this year, 461 tonnes of Pink Lady® had already been sent to Lagos, from where it’s distributed to other parts of the country.
The Pink Lady® Applelicious bus
“The Pink Lady® management model is based on peer-to-peer licensing,” explains Liza Matthews, TopFruit marketing manager. “The exporter as well as the importer is required to have a license for the particular territory. TopFruit manages the African territory which includes South Africa and all African countries (with the exception of Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia), as well as the islands of Mauritius, Réunion, the Comoros, Mayotte, Seychelles and Madagascar.”
TopFruit is currently licensing Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda in East Africa, and Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon in West Africa. These eight countries represent close to 90% of all Pink Lady® sales in the continent.
The activation engaged the public with games like bite-it-if-you-can
In Nigeria, the fruit is bought by local fruit importers who procure the apples from South African exporters. Retail makes up a negligible segment of sales, which takes place almost entirely at outdoor markets and through street sellers.
Interestingly, Liza notes, Pink Lady® which commands premium shelf space in retail elsewhere in the world, has become a staple among the offerings of street sellers in many African countries because of its internal quality and long shelf life.
“African importers have access to cooling facilities, but stock moves so quickly that the apples usually aren’t stored for a long period. Re-sellers don’t have such access, which drives Pink Lady® sales as sellers realise that the Pink Lady® logo gives them the guarantee of a quality product.”
The six brand promoters with two brand ambassadors at the Lagos Pink Lady® market activation