Counterfeit produce is nothing new on the Chinese market, but fortunately there is a strong push from companies who export there to try to combat it. Companies can see their brands displayed in markets all over Asia, undermining a great deal of work and investment to promote the quality behind the brand, and brand owners, breeders, growers and the consumers all suffer.
The Chinese government are under pressure to implement counterfeit laws and are working to bring them in and to enforce them.
“We see counterfeit Chinese grown product in the markets where we are active,” explains Andrew Mandemaker Head of Group Quality and Innovation at APAL who own the rights to the Pink Lady® brand. ”Presently in Thailand and other Asia countries, we see counterfeit Chinese Pink Lady apples. We do a lot of work with our lawyers in Shanghai to take down any counterfeit sales of Pink Lady. For us it is about making sure those who have a licence to be involved with the Pink Lady brand are protected.”
“Our strategy for China is around imports, we know that the consumer likes foreign brands and products with good food safety credentials that they can trust. We want make sure the consumer has the high-quality apple they are paying for.”
The taste profile of Pink Lady is very popular in Australia, Europe and America, but many Chinese consumers grew up with Fujis and that is what they know. “To some, the Pink Lady branded apple is quite sour. We have done a lot of research in China about this and it tells us that if you are over 55 you may not to like the sweet, sour balance. The older generation like Fuji and think that is what an apple is supposed to taste like.
“Young Chinese people however are the complete opposite. They understand the different flavours of the bi-coloured apple and enjoy the ‘western’ taste. Our brand appeals to young Chinese consumers - it’s about bright colours.”
We look for sales channels in China which help build our brand presence. Online sales work very well, as the consumer can trust the brand to have the quality they are looking for”
Pink Lady has partners in China for online sales and these partners are very wary of having counterfeit goods, as they don’t want to be associated with them and work very hard to make sure their products are the genuine article.
“The Chinese market was short of fruit last season which gave us an opportunity. We have one licenced importer in China at the moment, Joy Wing Mau, so anyone who wants be involved in the Pink Lady brand in China has to work through them.”
APAL recently made an arrangement with Pink Lady America and are now the master licensee for Pink Lady exports out of USA, so now have supply in the counter season which can compete against any counterfeit product on the Chinese market.
“The Chinese market is currently supplied by Europe, but they are in a short year now so we need to supply from somewhere else,” Andrew said.
“Now we can use the American supply which has the same strict quality controls as everywhere else."
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