Benjamin Choy has recently joined the FreshPride team from Singapore. He comes with a background in the international fresh produce industry, including representing an Australian stone fruit company in Asia. FreshPride is a sister company of Dutch company Olympic Fruit. The company is actively supplying into Europe, the Middle-East, Africa and in their latest endeavor into Taiwan and Vietnam with their newest addition, Lois Chang from Taiwan, on the team.
Benjamin currently supplies the Malaysian and Singaporean markets, and also exports to China and Hong Kong. The company produces and sources from established production regions around the global, including South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Benjamin Choy with FreshPride, welcoming fresh Crimson grapes
At the moment, Southern Hemisphere grapes and lemons are on the market, with grape production moving from South Africa to Australia.
“At the moment we are busy with South African Grapes. It is also the start of the South African lemon season,” says Benjamin: “The South African lemon season has had a mixed start as a result of several weeks of inclement weather. Now supply is transitioning to Egypt, from where some of the fruit is arriving with traces of oleocellosis. That said demand for lemons has been strong. From right now until April we are seeing a shortfall of lemons.”
The season of South African grapes is coming to an end, and Australia’s grape season is coming into full swing. Traditional varieties, like Crimson, Thompson, Arras, are weaker in demand. But new varieties like Autumn Crisp and Sweet Globes are popular and moving.
“This year, Chinese New Year was very early in January, and many growers missed out on this festive window. Then weak movements after the festivities added to the backlog on the market,” says Benjamin.
“Right now, Australia is seeing a strong start to its grape season, also in China. This is after a rather sluggish South African export season. South African suppliers were unable to move their stocks as fast as they wanted it to go, and shipping conditions out of Durban are still not ideal with strong winds,” continues Benjamin.
Benjamin also mentions that they company has been exporting yellow pitahaya from Ecuador. The yellow pitahaya varieties are sweeter and popular in Asia. But also here, early Chinese New Year meant that a part of the crop was not ready yet to be sent ahead of this festive period. The market potential for Ecuadorian pitahaya is strong however, as both the flavor and color is popular on the market.
“FreshPride is looking foremostly to work hand in hand with our partners. We do not see ourselves as separated from the market: best supply is through synergies. And we are experts in supply. A combination of agronomic knowledge, knowing when the product is going to be harvested, and about the different market conditions in different markets; this is what we specialize in. Growers are often at the tail-end of receiving the major risks. We try to support our receiving partners by helping to mitigate weather related risks and find best the market condition where and when possible”.
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