Hortgro excited by success in India

Hortgro, the South African apple and pear growers association, is set to expand its promotional campaign in India in the coming season, following the successful launch of its market development program in 2021.

The industry body reported a “remarkable increase in demand” for South African apples and pears in the Indian market during the 2021 season, with sales boosted by its first marketing campaign in the country.

According to industry data, sales of South African apples in India reached almost 768,900 boxes (9,610 tonnes) in 2021, more than triple the previous year (183,000 boxes in 2020) .

Sales of pears exceeded 1.57 million cartons (19,675 tons), an increase of around 43% year-on-year (1 million cartons in 2020).

“Last season (2021) was the first time we tested the water with our market development programme,” said Hortgro’s general manager of trade and markets, Jacques du Preez. “The support, interest and participation of importers has exceeded our expectations and we will increase our activities in 2022.”

Hortgro’s Indian campaign included a series of marketing activities targeting key stakeholders to increase awareness of South African apples and pears under the slogan ‘Beautiful Fruits from the Beautiful Country’.

Hortgro’s representative in India, Sachin Khurana, said South African apples and pears “have evolved” among Indian trade and consumers in 2021, enjoying “phenomenal growth”.

“South African pome fruit growers, packers and exporters are delighted with the love Indian consumers have shown [their fruit] and we are committed to providing Indian consumers with excellent quality and great tasting products,” said Khurana. “I see a lot of interest and enthusiasm from major Indian importers and retailers for the business opportunities that South African products offer.”

Royal Gala led apple sales from South Africa to India in 2021, holding a 69% market share, followed by Granny Smith (6%) and Topred/Starking (5.5%). In pears, Packhams Triumph was the main seller, accounting for 46% of total imports, followed by Forelle (25%) and Vermont Beauty (23%).

Du Preez said he hoped the South African protocol for shipping apples and pears to India would revert to cold sterilization in transit in 2022, which would further boost sales.

According to Hortgro, South African apples and pears are now readily available in India at modern retail outlets, convenience stores, forklift vendors as well as major online stores.