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Greek strawberry exports to focus on Asia

The marketing company Greek & Fresh and its producing partner Labidino, currently the largest exporters of strawberries by air from Greece, with exports mostly to destinations in the Gulf (Kuwait, Dubai and Saudi Arabia), visited Asia Fruit Logistica for the first time last September because of its current expansion in this region. Nick Nafpliotis, CEO of Greek & Fresh, says that “50% of the people that visited the stand were interested in the strawberries, while blueberries only attracted about 15%, but I believe there is a great potential in Asia, as we have lower production costs and very competitive air freight rates compared to other European countries.”

While Greek blueberries are quite a new product in Asia, he assures that they have been selling strawberries in the Gulf for two years and have achieved great success competing with Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and US. “I believe we will also be really successful in Asia, as we have a very good quality product which will enjoy a competitive advantage,” he states. He also explains that the company’s strategy is to introduce products that are quite new for some markets and that there’s a real interest in helping develop Greek exports, especially outside the European Union.

The strawberries marketed by Greek & Fresh correspond mostly to the Fortuna variety, which is characterized by its early production, very fine shape, shiny and with white color around the stem which is something most markets like. “In Asia and the Gulf they like the color to be 70-80% red at the bottom and the top 20-30% white. It has a moderate brix level, but it has a very fine aroma,” says the CEO.

Furthermore, since the majority of the Australian production is based on the Fortuna variety, the Asian market is already familiar with this variety and its characteristics.
Nafpliotis believes that Greek strawberries will have a very positive impact on the market. “We are now changing our packaging to make them more attractive and luxurious, with black cartons to contrast with the red color of the strawberries. We plan to start our shipments in January by reaching Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and India. ”

He states that the biggest challenge in the Asian market, compared to the Gulf, is that customers have higher expectations, and pay more attention to small details. “ Another difference, of course, is that while exports to the Gulf have been done for years, those to Asia are still developing.” But given the difficulties in traditional markets, he says that there will be a growing focus in Asia in the coming years. “In addition to the strawberries, we will also try to do kiwis, blueberries, pomegranates, avocado, as well as peaches, nectarines and grapes in the summer.”

Greek & Fresh is currently able to export about 1,000 tonnes of strawberries per season, which is not a large volume but the company is basically focused on air shipments to non-European overseas markets. “I’m confident that this year at least 40-50% will go to the Gulf, where we’ve had a very fine campaign and our partners there did a tremendous job. We maintain a great relationship with the supermarkets, as they know that we produce what they order, with good quality and a good service, and that we are dedicated to doing something different."

For more information:

Nick Nafpliotis
Greek and Fresh
T: +30 215 2158063
F: +30 210 2713683
M: +30 6932 454646
Skype: nick.nafpliotis

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