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Uptick in Australia’s vegetable exports

Uptick in Australia’s vegetable exports

Credit: Alexandra Sautois

 

Australia recorded a 6.6% increase in fresh vegetable exports in 2019 to €185 million, according to Global Trade Atlas data. In volume terms, the country’s vegetable exports were up 5.4% to 230,000 tons. The main source of this growth was onions, which surged 67% to €25 million in 2019, thanks to strong demand from Europe, where there was a lack of supply. Australia’s largest fresh vegetable export in volume terms is carrots, accounting for 34% of all shipments. Australia also exports large volumes of potatoes, celery, broccoli and cauliflower.

The largest market for Australian fresh vegetables is Singapore, followed by the UAE, Japan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, which together received about 53% of total vegetable exports. The Ausveg body is working to help the country’s growers develop the skills and capacity to enter export markets for vegetables through the Vegetable Industry Export Programme, in partnership with Hort Innovation. In a move which should further boost exports, Australia has recently signed a free trade agreement with Indonesia.

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New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market

New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market
Credit: Press release

An event held on 12th February in Palma del Río, Córdoba, makes official and consolidates the alliance between Harvest Season and garciaBallester. The two large companies, leaders in the business, are now united in achieving the same goal: to become leaders in the Asian citrus import market. garciaBallester’s own facilities were chosen as the ideal setting to seal the union between the two companies. 

Representatives and senior executives from both companies were present from the beginning, with garciaBallester represented by Jorge García (CEO), Jorge C. García, (management coordinator), Lucas (Asian export manager), Miguel Meliá, (GB Palma del Rio’s packhouse manager) and Stephane (sales director), and Harvest Season represented by Tony Zhang (general manager).

The event started with the reception of both parties in garciaBallester’s facilities, and later on they went out to the fields.  Once in the field, which was also in the middle of the orange season, the union between both companies was formalised. To do this, a customised pickaxe was used as a symbolic element to announce their commitment to a new era in the citrus market in Asia. Later, attendees were treated to a guided tour around garciaBallester’s facilities. 

The highlight of the event was the cutting of the opening ribbon, where Harvest Season and garciaBallester celebrated their new chapter together. They were able to share new ideas and also to answer questions from the invited press. The event demonstrated successfully how to start this new stage for Harvest Season and garciaBallester.

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Product ‘tropicalisation’ important for Costa Rican market

Though its population is small – just 4.8 million people – Costa Rica adds more than 2 million tourists and thousands of affluent retirees to its base of retail food consumers every year.

Suppliers of food for Costa Rica’s retail market should show more interest in ‘tropicalising’ products, a new GAIN report says.

Tropicalising involves concepts such as packaging in smaller volumes and in a manner appropriate for the heat of the tropics, and incorporating popular local flavours, such as fruit, etc, it says.

It also reports that Costa Rican food executives encourage US food manufacturers and suppliers to, among other things, be more aggressive in all sectors, but especially regarding canned and fresh fruits and vegetables, and processed foods; and to show greater interest in providing environmentally friendly packaging.

According to ‘Costa Rica: Retail Foods’, the economic outlook in Costa Rica is promising, “economic growth is steady and a solid base of middle to upper-class consumers is expanding in the country.” Though its population is small – just 4.8 million people – Costa Rica “adds more than 2 million tourists and thousands of affluent retirees to its base of retail food consumers every year.”

Best prospects for exports to Costa Rica

Costa Rica imports fresh fruits year-round, but about 70% of total domestic consumption of non-tropical fruits occurs during the Christmas season (October through December).

Mexico, Chile and Guatemala are the main competitors of the US in the Costa Rican fresh fruit, wines and vegetable market.

While the most favourable export prospects for the US lie in processed products, in recent years, “consuming more convenience and healthy foods has been the trend and has resulted in good prospects for US exports of fresh fruit (mainly apples, grapes, peaches and pears), processed fruits and vegetables (especially canned fruits), and snack foods (including chips, cookies and candies),” GAIN says.

The US and Chile export similar products to Costa Rica, but during different seasons. “Imports from Chile take place from January to July. During the rest of the year, imports come mostly from the United States, except for those fruits available year-round.” Canada also poses slight competition in the fruit and potato sector because of its 2002 FTA with Costa Rica.

Fruit and vegetable production in Costa Rica

Tropical vegetables and fruits are among the locally produced products that present competition to US exporters in the Costa Rican market.

Costa Rica has been incorporating advanced technologies into the preservation of locally produced foods – preserves, concentrates, deep freezing, canning, and packaging thus opening the door to new markets and diversity, both for internal consumption and also for export.

Key Costa Rica exports include bananas, heart of palm, concentrated tropical fruits and jalapeno peppers.

“Tropical fruits and vegetables like bananas, pineapples, cantaloupes, watermelons, mangoes, cassava, ginger, yams, roots and tubers, vegetables and greens – produced both with conventional methods as well as organically – have been very important products in the international markets, as much as for fresh food consumption as for fresh raw ingredients,” the report says.

Retail in Costa Rica

In 2014, the retail sector continued its planned expansion with major retailers moving deeper into the small store segment, targeting those who shop in convenience and small stores. “Additionally, the Costa Rican market of wholesale supermarkets continues to grow, mainly driven by the opening of convenience stores, bakeries, ‘sodas’ (small low end restaurants), restaurants and hotels in recent years.”

Source: Costa Rica: Retail Foods
Image of popular Costa Rican tourist destination Jaco Beach: by Costaricapro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Opportunities for fresh produce exports to France

Fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly tropical and exotic – are among the best high value prospects for American companies looking to export to France, according to a report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly tropical and exotic – are among the best high value prospects for American companies looking to export to France, according to a report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Titled the France Exporter Guide, the report says prime opportunities for U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers are in off-season and extended season sales, as well as during years of short French fruit crops.

“France is the leading European market for U.S. grapefruit and number three in the world after Japan and Canada with 17.5 tons imported in calendar year 2013, valued at $20 million. The U.S. market share for citrus fruits represents 21 percent of total French imports in volume and 25 percent in value. The US was France’s first supplier in volume and value for grapefruit for the first time in 2014, followed by South Africa, Israel and Spain,” it says.

During short-crop years, France imports apples and pears from the US. There is also a niche market for berries, medjool dates, dried prunes, frozen fruits and nuts, fresh cherries, cashew nuts, apples, and other fresh citrus.

“Imports of fresh and dried cranberries from the US have been very successful during the last fifteen years and were valued at more than $1 million in 2014. Transshipments from other EU member states (who do not produce cranberries) were valued at more than $2.2 million the same year.”

Root vegetables among few opportunities for US fresh vegetables

Very few opportunities exist for US fresh vegetables, the report says. “Trends and increased consumption indicate a growing demand for dried and prepared vegetables (washed and cut) and many supermarkets have a special section for these types of products.”

However it advises there may also be demand for organic vegetables, “as the new US/EU organic agreement should open doors for U.S. suppliers.”

And import statistics show US exports of fresh and chilled edible root vegetables to France have increased since 2011. “These exports were valued at $2.4 million versus $626,000 in 2010. FAS Paris initiated contact with French buyers and the American Sweet Potatoes Commission actively promotes this product among the food service industry.”

Move from frozen to fresh prepared foods in food service

The report provides a guide to France’s economic situation and market structure, as well as exporter tips. On the subject of food trends in France it says French consumers desire innovative and more convenient foods offering a quality image, better taste, and increased health benefits

It also mentions that the French food service industry is moving towards fresh consumer-ready products at the expense of frozen foods.
 


Under this category, dried nuts are the majority of U.S. exports, the report says.


 

source: France Exporter Guide, GAIN report FR9175
image of the Eiffel tower as seen from the Champ de Mars: by Edisonblus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons