New generation apples for new markets

AGMARDT funding is helping Next Generation Apples better understand consumers in Vietnam and China as it works to introduce two new varieties of New Zealand-bred apples into these markets.

Next Generation Apples is a joint venture between long-standing Kiwi apple growing companies Golden Bay Fruit and Taylor Corp. The company is taking new varieties of apples to the world, growing them in the best apple-growing regions and delivering them to apple-loving consumers.

Next Generation’s first two varieties are T003 and T093, the latest to be developed by New Zealand and world-leading fruit, vegetable, and arable developer Plant Food & Research.

Golden Bay Fruit Branding Imagery

The two new varieties have all the right ingredients for commercial success from a grower and consumer perspective.

Steve Hayden, Project Manager says the company wants to get closer to the consumer rather than following the traditional New Zealand apple industry model of going to wholesalers.

To do this, it has undertaken an extensive Market and Customer Insight Programme to build in-depth understanding of specific markets and the customers, to inform naming of the apples, branding and overall marketing approaches.

During 2020 and 2021, Next Generation Apples has completed key phases of the programme, gaining an extensive but not exhaustive understanding of the experiences and perceptions Chinese and Vietnamese consumers have around food, fruit and specifically apples.

New Zealand apples are regarded as a desirable and premium product for a growing middle-class shopping at specialty fruit and vegetable outlets and online.

“We are aiming for this premium market and confident that there is huge potential and demand. New Zealand is still regarded in these markets as clean and green, and our COVID-free status has only worked to boost that reputation and increase demand.”

The other core component of the insights programme is in-market consumer taste testing and interviews, Due to COVID, some of these were completed in 2020 with Vietnamese and Chinese consumers.

However, during June to August 2021, the programme is heading into five cities across Vietnam and China working with consumers to experience branding concepts and marketing.

“AGMARDT funding is invaluable for us. Without it we wouldn’t be able to do this critical component of in-market consumer testing and interviews,” Steve Hayden, Project Manager