The Polish apple invasion into China is finally underway. Multiple traders from Poland already mentioned China was next on the list, but certificates made things harder than they needed to be. However, 2019 might be the year for China to fully feast on sweeter, juicier apples.
For Polish apple traders, China has always been a goal. The bumper harvest led to issues with oversupply, workforce and prices. China seemed to be a way out, but getting there wasn’t as easy. According to Michal Glijer, export manager for Grupa Sad Exports, claims there is a good understanding between him and Chinese importers: “So far, we’ve shipped several dozen containers of apples, we expect this number to double before the end of the season. Then the aim for next season will be to double that amount again, and keep growing. We’re currently selling in ten cities in China and main varieties are Ligol, Gala and Sampion. We’re very happy to say the apples all arrive in good condition.”
Besides Poland, Chile, New Zealand and the United States are also trying to get their apples into China: “Despite the trade war, the US is still a big player when it comes to selling apples to China. We do see our first stage with bicoloured apples is now over. We’re about to start shipping Red Delicious and Red Jonaprince apples, which are sweeter in taste and a lot juicier, qualities that Chinese consumers appreciate in apples. We don’t ship green coloured apples (Golden Delicious) which are currently in very high demand in Europe, but also in Egypt and India. Chinese consumers don’t prefer these apples, so we can focus all our red coloured apples to China, while still being able to sell our green coloured apples across the globe.” Glijer states.
The prices of Polish apples crashed a few months ago, with growers actually dumping their produce as there were no profits to be made. Chinese buyers will pay a lot more for their apples, claims Glijer: “We are very happy with the price as it is now. The price is naturally higher than it would be when selling apples in Europe, due to the extra costs one has to make. The fine tuning of the whole logistics process from Polish orchard to a Chinese customer hasn’t been cheap, however we feel that in a year or two we could make more money without the price even increasing. The point is to lower our costs and be more efficient than we are now, with everything being new for both parties. As time goes on, the profit-margin should become a lot better for us than it already is.”
As an example for improvements, Glijer states packaging could be improved: “There is new modified atmosphere packaging technology that should prolong the shelf life of our apples. Implementing this for our Chinese clients would probably mean an even better relationship and better produce that fits our clients’ needs.”