"Considering the sluggish market situation in Asia, we are satisfied with the results"

"Our season from Italy to Asia has ended"

In these difficult times, as exhibitions and fairs are canceled, it has become harder and harder to expose potential customers to new products, and companies are having to be more creative when finding other ways to keep their clients up to date. 

“At RK Growers we decided to launch our own YouTube channel. The main reason was that we have a lot of different projects underway and a lot of good products to offer. To let everyone see what we are working on, we decided to make short videos of each project. In this way, people can get a better insight into our projects and what we have to offer. We hope people will enjoy the videos,” said Kevin Au Yeung, Asia Market Manager for RK Growers Srl and Omnifresh.

The current season is ending in Asia
“Our season from Italy to Asia has ended. We usually end our export season to Asia from Italy around mid-march. This is to minimize any quality issues on arrival and to ensure that customers are happy with the quality they receive towards the end of the season.
This year the season was a bit different because of political instability in Hong Kong since June 2019 and the COVID-19 outbreak in Asia starting in January 2020, but, according to Kevin Au Yeung, there were still positive results. When looking back at the season, Kevin said: “Even though the total sales were less than expected, we still witnessed growth in this market, so we are happy with the results considering the sluggish market situation in Asia coupled with the COVID-19 outbreak situation. We managed to send more great tasting Italian Ambrosia apple to Asia, and also 3 times the volume of Dori Yellow Kiwi to selected Asia markets. Both products were well received by the consumers in Asia because of their sweetness “

Photo: Omnifresh works closely with importers to actively promote the Italian Ambrosia Apple to Asian consumers

Logistics difficulties
According to Kevin, during their season, there were some logistical problems now and then, but it did not affect their export too much thanks to their in-house shipping department. “There were a few occasions when our shipments could not directly reach the designated destination on time. However, the problems were solved quickly and only caused a short delay in our goods, so we were lucky that we still got through to our markets – sometimes with no more than a week's delay - other companies I heard were less fortunate.”

“In general the logistics have been poor in the last few months since January 2020. A lot of importers had problems with the arrival times of their containers. For example, some goods were delayed after new shipments had already been dispatched, so there is a situation where older shipments were arriving at the same time as the more recent deliveries. Then, when these large volumes entered the market simultaneously, that caused some disarray in the market price. This happened quite often during the COVID 19 outbreak and therefore importers are more cautious when making new orders. Most of the exporters also started to spend less, to avoid such problems.”

Photo: Working closely with importers in Asia to promote the sweet-tasting Italian Dori Yellow Kiwi

Differences between European and Asian Food demand during COVID-19 Lockdown.
As RK Growers Srl is present in both the Asian and European markets, Kevin has noticed a clear difference in consumer responses to what they buy during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“In Asia, you can see an increase in the purchases of canned, frozen, preserve food. However, in Europe, the opposite happened, consumers in Europe tend to buy more fresh produce. In my opinion, the reason for this is because in Asia people have limited storage space at home so they prefer to stock up on food products that can easily be stored and with a longer shelf life. Besides, the supermarket shelf for fruits in Asia seems to be abundant and readily available, this further reduces the need to hoard.  On the other hand, in Europe, consumers are less concerned with space, and they are used to consuming fresh produce daily, so at the start of COVID-19 in Europe, many consumers were afraid for the supply of fresh produce, so they end up buying more than usual, especially orange, kiwi and apple, which are considered staple fruits.” 

Automated packing houses
Even though the COVID-19 virus had a large impact in Italy, RK Growers was still able to provide its clients with produce. Together with their partners, they were able to provide customers worldwide with the highest quality fruits during these difficult times. 
“Every season we look forward to providing everyone with our great tasting fruits such as the ambrosia apples, Dori Yellow Kiwi, Arra Seedless Grapes, etc. To make our supply process smoother and more efficient our packing houses for apples and kiwis are fully automated. Given the current emergency, that turned out to be a good investment, as the number of workers allowed in the workplace at any one time is severely restricted.  With a fully automated packing facility, you need fewer people, so our Italian supply was affected far less than it was for some other companies who did not have this degree of automation.”

Photo: Rivoira SpA fully automate packing facility in Italy

“Last year we participated in several promotional activities for our fruits, and that helped to establish cooperation with new export countries such as Italian apples for the Taiwan and Vietnam market in the coming season. We look forward to the next season and hope that every country will recover soon. We will keep supplying the best fruits available worldwide, to help everyone stay healthy in these unprecedented circumstances.
We also hope to share more of our product videos soon on our YouTube channel.”
YouTube Channel click here 

For more information:
Kevin Au Yeung
RK Growers Srl - Omnifresh
Tel: +852 6880 0650
Email: kevin.auyeung@rkg.it  
Web: www.rkg.it   / www.omnifreshco.com   

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