Just Avocados has completed their first commercial shipment of New Zealand avocados into China, making them the first NZ avocado exporter to do business in the market after access was gained earlier this year.
The fruit, which was harvested in Katikati and packed at the Just Avocados packing facility, is being marketed by Win-Chain Supply Chain Management Ltd, the aggregated fresh food global sourcing centre for Alibaba Group.
“We have a partnership with the leader in the fresh produce retail space, who has reach across physical supermarkets and e-commerce platforms,” says Jacob Darling, who is general manager of group sales and marketing for Darling Group, which represents Just Avocados’ fruit in export markets.
Darling Group’s branded avocado ‘Jake’s Avocado’ is currently featured for purchase across several ecommerce platforms that fall under the Alibaba Group’s umbrella.
“We are really pleased with the level of promotion, celebration and excitement that we have worked with our partner in China on to surround the launch of our avocados – media engagement, a physical launch event, online video, and extensive use of imagery and information on websites to tell the story of where our avocados come from and the benefits over other origins,” says Jacob.
At this early stage there is positive indication around returns for growers from China.
“We recognise this is a work in progress and it will take time to develop the brand and understanding of avocados among consumers. However, we are off to a fantastic start and the return is currently higher than what we had initially forecast.”
Jacob says their Chinese partner has been most interested in promoting the nutritional points of the New Zealand avocado but also the origins of their family-owned company.
“Win-Chain is particularly interested in us – Just Avocados and Darling Group – because we are growers, packers and exporters, we control the supply chain and are vertically integrated meaning we can support the China market long-term. They also like the fact that we are a family-owned business and have family working across different areas of the supply chain,” says Jacob.
Darling Group has committed 15,000 trays to the China market this season with the strategic approach of continuing to develop the Asia market as a whole but with China placed as the major pillar for Just Avocados growers going forward.