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French Co-op struggles to penetrate Asian market

Blue Whale, a French cooperative of growers and exporters, has had a presence in Asia for a long time, but they are finding it difficult to expand in the Asian market, according to

Marc Peyres, Sales Director at Blue Whale, cites reasons for this which are the same for many growers and exporters wishing to expand into Asia. “The big markets like Korea, Japan and Australia are closed due to phytosanitary regulations to European apples or kiwis,” he says.

“China has a limitation on the entry and India is open but has a high import tax, which makes it difficult to develop. What's left after these markets is a lot of small countries, so it's not very easy to get a large share of the Asian market. So the market is very interesting, but not as big as people believe due to the many restrictions.

He notes that firms such as Blue Whale have the capability to enter into these markets but there are factors that serve as barriers to entry. As evidence of that, he cites Blue Whale's crop of Gala and Granny Smith apples which enjoyed good crops this year.

“We had a good crop, a week of not-so-good weather brought it down slightly, but overall, it was a very good crop.”

Despite the potential, however, he sees European firms such as his encountering difficulties. “The European market is complicated with a lot of pressure from supermarkets on price the last three years.”

That reason makes some companies believe it is easy to develop overseas business, but it is also risky for three reasons according to Peyres. “The currency rates are very unstable, technical difficulties since transport takes one month plus a few weeks to sell and transport risks with problems like: delay, strike, temperature problems.”

Source: FreshPlaza