Interview with a fruit and vegetable importer that supplies three thousand retail outlets

What kind of fruits and vegetables would the Indian retail sector like to import from Europe?

India is the most populous country in the world. Its population is estimated at 1.428 billion, about 3 million more than China. There are obviously different types of consumers, including a few hundred million with remarkable purchasing power who prefer a specific level of quality in fruits and vegetables, especially from overseas.

From right to left: Renzo Piraccini, Saurabh Raina (Reliance Group import manager), Konstantina Bauman and Cecilia Marzocchi.

In order to understand these dynamics, a delegation from Macfrut, led by its President Renzo Piraccini, recently met with the import manager of the Reliance Group, Saurabh Raina.

The headquarters of Reliance, an industrial group that operates in many sectors and owns the supermarkets of the same name, is located in New Mumbai and has a total of 30,000 employees.

The group has a turnover of $100 billion and its main activity is the construction of oil refineries, while its 3,000 supermarkets and shopping malls spread across India generate a turnover of $25 billion.

From mid-sized supermarkets to hypermarkets, there are different types of outlets. The group's average import volume is 35 to 40 boxes of apples and kiwis from Italy.

"There is also interest in the import of Italian grapes," says Piraccini, "once the Indian harvest is over. The harvest in India takes place from January to April.”

"The market share of modern retail in India is 10%, so the prospects are excellent for all supermarket chains. With a population of over 1.4 billion, the numbers are impressive. There are various kinds of shops, supermarkets to smaller shops, with three levels of quality".

European apples have a 50% import duty on the import price, while kiwis have a 33% import duty. Blueberries are also subject to a 33% import duty.

"One proposal could be to maintain the tariff on conventional red apples, which compete with the local crop (the entire Indian crop consists of red varieties, the Red Delicious type), and reduce it on other varieties, such as Club or Golden," suggests Piraccini.

Apples are very common in India and supermarkets have a wide range of them. Prices are quoted in rupees (1 rupee = €0.011). So, the price of Royal Galas is €3.95 per kilo.

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