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Polish Idared and Gloster well received by Indian consumers

Fresh fruit consumption in India is moving at a rapid pace and imports are picking up, especially with the improvement of logistics facilities and new investments in modern equipment. More and more metro areas in India are importing more apples and oranges, as consumers now have more spending power and don't mind spending a bit more on foods with health benefits.

"The Indian market is a huge and a very dynamic and rapidly growing market due to its consumption, but is also a very demanding market. We started our research by making 3 trips to India last year, since the 2017 harvest, because we felt that the China apple ban will give Polish apples an advantage, but things worked in the other way due to the low harvest and high prices here in Poland and the a bumper harvest of Indian domestic apples," explains Ramesh Aniruddh, CEO of LVMG Grupa Sp z o.o.

Originally from Southern India, but settled in Poland, Ramesh said that this has been beneficial in helping get Polish apples into the market there, as the communication barrier can be an issue for many. It's not been an easy start, with low production of Polish apples last year, while India had had good production.

"We had some of our then prospective clients visit Poland last year and we took them for a tour around Grojec, to see some packing houses and fruits. They were really pleased with what they saw and we were hoping to start orders from December 2017 onwards, but there wasn't much room for Polish apples to enter after a good domestic harvest and low Red Delicious prices coming out of the USA," Ramesh continued.
"The situation caused us to rethink our selling strategy, bycutting costs wherever possible, such as changing the packaging from an 18 kg bushel to a 13kg open wooden box. We avoided varieties like Royal Gala and Red Prince, introducing cheaper varieties like Idared and Gloster (with 90-100% coloration). These were new varieties to the Indian market, so we had to do a bit of convincing in getting our clients to buy them, but once they did, I can proudly say that we have made Idared and Gloster popular in India."
Ramesh said that many people had told him it wouldn't work to set up export of Polish apples to India, but he said that they have ultimately seen success by being very involved in the entire shipment, and were in constant contact with the shipping lines all the way through the delivery process to avoid any damages or claims.

Damaged apples which can only be seen once cut open.

"There is stiff competition for apples from other exporting countries like the USA (Washington), Chile, Iran, Turkey, New Zealand and South Africa, followed by Italy and Belgium. There are rumours that the Chinese ban will be revoked soon and the entry of Argentina will only make it an even wider market for imported apples. However, I think that if we market Polish apples like Washington apples, we can surely have a set and standard market like the Washington apple range. They market their products in a fantastic way, which has made it a preferred import and has set the pricing standard for other varieties as well," continued Ramesh.

India is such a diverse country that we have so many cuisines for food (every state has its own), so you can see the taste preference among the consumers, so we need to be prepared to which client we are selling what kind of variety and specifications (like size, colour, sweet/tangy taste)kinds. The key for successful business in India is by personal relationship, Indians value relationships a lot, within family and in business. However, once the trust is broken, it's very hard to amend it. After many negative experiences in the past by being sent lower quality goods from various destinations, Indian traders have become very cautious and are very shrewd with their buying terms."
The next step for LVMG is to bring Polish berries to the Indian market as a niche product. Ramesh said that they are in the second stage of discussion with a major retail chain in India who would like to work with the company for year round sales. The company also hopes to take its products to Singapore and Malaysia in the near future.

For more information:
Aniruddh Ramesh
LVMG Grupa Sp z o.o
Tel: +48 513234952

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