Del Monte focus on Russia, a promising and challenging market

Tue 22/05/2018 by Richard Wilkinson
BANANA Delmonte2

Russia is a market full of opportunities, it’s actually the 8th largest grocery market globally, but it’s also a challenging one! That´s why Del Monte’s Vice-President, Mohammed Abbas, said:

“Our focus is Modern retail, a segment that represents 70 % of the market, 24 % of it belonging to top 5 retailers*. By addressing this key target, not only does Del Monte reduce the risk by working with insured companies, but it benefits from a good brand exposure with its end consumers.”

During this season Del Monte’s strategy will consist in 3 key pillars. First, to increase the product range: Del Monte started cooperating with one of the largest importer of bananas in Russia and hope thus to develop brand awareness and get Russian buyers accustomed to bananas from Costa-Rica. Del Monte is also considering other products such as Jet Fresh pineapples, figs, herbs and other exotic fruit shipped by air. Second, to offer additional solutions: Customization is more and more requested and alongside with fruit shipped in standard packaging, Del Monte is offering various types of consumer packs for bananas. Another example is Del Monte Pineapple peeling stations. They provide strong support accompanying long-term programs for pineapples. The impact of peeling pineapples on a live station in front of customers has a positive impact on sales by 10 times. And Third, to extend the geographical coverage:  Vladivostok market and CIS countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan are part of Del Monte’s expansion plan.

About the Russian experience, Abbas also says:

“Del Monte learned 2 important lessons from its experience in Russia:  to be patient as contracts are complicated and might delay the operations. And also to be persistent as local buyers can be quite conservative and reluctant to change their habits. For example, they would tend to prefer Ecuadorian bananas over other sources and consider pineapples as new year fruit or fruit for decoration”.

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