The coronavirus has created demand for New Zealand’s first organic apples as Chinese consumers stay away from their local wholesalers and wet markets.
As a result, Australasia’s largest organic apple producer, Bostock New Zealand has just airfreighted its largest ever air shipment of organic apples to China.
Bostock New Zealand owner John Bostock says they have sent Posy organic apples which are a new sweet variety which have been especially bred for the Asia Market and are one of New Zealand’s first available apples.
“The situation in China is devastating and it’s meant that Chinese consumers aren’t going out to the wet market or wholesale markets to buy their fruit as they avoid crowded public places. They are buying it from trusted retailers where hygiene is better assured and many of these trusted retailers are our customers.
“There has also been a significant increase in online sales for fresh produce as consumers look to have groceries delivered to their homes so they don’t have to step outside.”
Bostock International Trader, Jane Maclean says when a crisis like this happens in China, more consumers turn to organics as they trust it more and believe it’s safer for them and their families.
“New Zealand is a trusted source in a situation which is unfolding like this. Organics create another layer of trust for the Chinese consumer.
“Logistically it’s becoming difficult to buy fresh produce in China as the wholesale markets have shut down. Retail is still strong, and in fact more retailers are reporting increased sales as a result of the current situation, but they need to source their produce from somewhere and New Zealand is an attractive option for the high-end retailers.”
The airfreight Posy apples will be the first New Zealand apples in the China market.
Both Mr Apple and Bostock New Zealand hold the exclusive rights to grow and market Posy apples and Bostock New Zealand is the only organic producer in the world.
Posy apples have been bred with very high brix and high colour for the Asian markets.
“Chinese consumers love very sweet, high colour apples which have a beautiful appearance,” said Ms Maclean.
Bostock New Zealand airfreighted two pallets of Posy apples last season, but this season it has several pallets arriving by air and many more containers will follow by sea.
This is the second year Bostock New Zealand has had significant volumes of Posy apples to export.
“We are also adding value by creating a brand for this apple and supporting it with a lot of marketing material for our customers. This came off the back of a very successful season in China last year,” said Ms Maclean.
The China market is growing for Bostock New Zealand and awareness of the organic category is developing.
Mr Bostock says new, exciting varieties are appealing in Asia and are helping grow the market there.
“Developing exclusive, high quality apple varieties has been a big focus for Bostock New Zealand over recent years. Our Asian customers are really excited about the oncoming new varieties we have.”