This month, Australia saw the departure of the first mixed container of Goulburn River Gold® and Rico® branded pears bound for Thailand. “Rico® are one of the premium-branded Australian pears launching in Asia as part of our renewed focus on export,” says APAL Industry Services and Export Manager, Justin Smith.
“Flat and declining domestic sales have had pear growers under pressure for some time,” explains Justin, who leads APAL’s Export and Market Readiness program funded through Hort Innovation.
On the latest market research into pears, Justin is upbeat: “New and exciting brands like the blushing Rico®, bright red Piqa Boo® and the juicy, Asian-like Papple pear variety are bringing differentiation back to the category, and early indications are there that consumers will pay a premium.”
Accompanied by a quirky marketing campaign and featuring the tagline “Finally a pear with personality”, it is hoped that Rico® will appeal to a whole new generation of pear eaters, with its appealing bright red blush helping it to stand out on-shelf.
The inaugural Thai shipment comes after a concerted drive by APAL to generate interest in Rico® and Goulburn River Gold®, first revealed at Asia Fruit Logistica 2018. A subsequent visit by key Thai retailers to APAL in early 2019, organised by AusTrade, formalised the export opportunity.
Growers selected Goulburn Valley based Seeka Australia as their sales and marketing representative for the campaign, confident that they would be able to tailor an export programme to suit the their needs.