Fruit Growers Tasmania is launching the first-ever promotional campaign for the state's cherries in Taiwan, aimed at growing an important market for local growers.
CEO Peter Cornish says it will be a four-week campaign running on Facebook and YouTube and involves three short videos which show where and how Tasmanian cherries are grown; featuring their freshness, colour and size. These videos take the viewer to the Tasmanian Grown Cherries Facebook page which identifies the Tasmanian brands that are available to purchase online and in-store.
"The concept of the campaign is to raise awareness and encourage people in Taiwan to purchase Tasmanian cherries as gifts to share with friends and family during the Lunar New Year celebrations," Mr Cornish said. "The sentiment behind the campaign is that Tasmanian fresh cherries are a delicious New Year gift from 'our Island to yours'. YouTube and Facebook are two social media platforms that are widely used in Taiwan."
Taiwan was selected as the market to run this consumer campaign for a number of reasons including that it is an important market for Tasmania; and the third-largest behind Hong Kong and Vietnam. In 2020-21, Tasmania sold $6.4 million (396 tonnes) of cherries in Taiwan.
"Tasmania is the only state that exports to Taiwan – so the campaign would be focused on supporting Tasmanian exporters," Mr Cornish added. "It is a highly concentrated market of 23.5 million people making a targeted consumer campaign possible. In the month of January, there are approximately 3,500 tonnes of cherries in the market of which Tasmania represents about 7-10 per cent. This is a reasonable basis on which to build visibility and grow market share."
Mr Cornish says that the state's main competitor, New Zealand has largely had this market to itself, with no Australian marketing conducted in the past.
"It will support and leverage the business-to-business campaign targeting importers and retailers that Austrade is running for cherries in Taiwan at the same time," he said. "This is part of the 'Shine with Australia' campaign. Over the last two years, COVID-19 has prevented exporters from participating in the usual export marketing activities such as trade shows, trade delegations and inward buyer visits. These events provide an opportunity to reconnect with buyers and re-establish a presence in the markets. This promotional campaign is, in part, helping to support those connections where face to face discussions have not been possible."
The Tasmanian cherry sector believes the opportunity could be significant, according to Mr Cornish, who explains that Tasmania’s ability to airfreight fresh cherries to Taiwan within 48-72 hours of picking, and not requiring any phytosanitary treatment, means that the fruit is picked off the tree, sorted, packed and ready for eating.
“It is a growing market that we want to build further - our volume into Taiwan has grown by 25 per cent over the last five years,” Mr Cornish said. "Tasmania can provide high quality fresh red cherries that air freighted to Taiwan. These arrive in perfect condition and timing for the Lunar New Year celebrations (1 February 2022) and makes an attractive and delicious gift to share with friends and family."
The campaign also focuses on young professionals with a level of disposable income and interest in purchasing premium quality produce, as feedback from importers indicated that this demographic – young, financially independent Taiwanese men and women are most likely to be interested in purchasing premium quality fruit as gifts. But also, other interested demographics may include primary carers and household managers purchasing from supermarkets for their families.
Last year cherry exports were up 40 per cent on the 2019-20 season, and Mr Cornish says that this season growers are optimistic about the level of exports despite challenges including limited air freight services and seasonal labour supply.
"This year’s crop is looking of a high quality and is expected to be a similar volume to last year with new orchards coming online," he said. "Rain events have been relatively minor and many orchards have installed rain covers to manage this risk and ensure a reliable level of quality and quantity."