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Pagoda and Hortgro Stage South African Apple Retail Promotions in China

July 07, 2021

On July 4, South African apple and pear producer industry association Hortgro Pome and leading Chinese fruit retailer Pagoda teamed up to hold a tasting event for Pagoda’s Newton brand of Fuji apples from South Africa. The event was part of a broader promotion for South African apples staged this season in China by Hortgro and Pagoda, which is taking place both online and offline in 80 Pagoda stores throughout Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

The promotion comes amid a breakout performance this season for South African apples in the China market. “Our exports of apples to China more than doubled from 4,258 tons in 2020 to 8,685 tons in 2021,” said Dr. Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape provincial minister for agriculture, who delivered virtual remarks to the event participants. “All our varieties — Fuji, Royal Gala, Bigbucks [marketed as Flash Gala] and Granny Smith — have realized increases. With continued support from the Chinese market, there is much cause for optimism for South Africa’s apple producers.”

Pagoda started marketing South African apples in 2015 as soon as the product gained access to China, with a particular focus on the Fuji and Gala varieties. South African Fuji apples have proved popular with Pagoda’s customers owing to their unique flavor, mirroring an overall positive market reception in China. The small average fruit size makes South African Fuji apples particularly suited as a snack for children. In 2019, Pagoda recognized the popularity of the product by creating the “Newton” brand, which exclusively comprises South African Fuji apples. The brand name is a reference to pioneering physicist Isaac Newton.

“Pagoda’s mission is to let everybody everywhere enjoy a good lifestyle full of fresh fruit,” said Wu Chongwu, Pagoda’s regional general manager for Shanghai, speaking at the event. “Pagoda selects and purchases South African apples based on our exacting quality standards. As an exclusive brand, Newton apples have already achieved a baseline level of recognition among Pagoda customers. Moving forward, we are going to work with our suppliers to raise the quality of Newton apples even further in order to reward our customers for their enjoyment of the product.”

According to representatives from Pagoda, the company plans to expand the varieties of South African apples it sells in the future and further adjust its purchasing patterns based on customer feedback. The ultimate goal is to bring more great-tasting and affordable South African apples to consumers throughout China.

This is the first season in which Hortgro has run an active promotional campaign in China. “We are very happy to partner with Pagoda in this first year that we have launched an industry market development campaign in China,” said Jacques du Preez, general manager for trade and markets at Hortgro. “We have been overwhelmed by the positive interest and response from the Chinese fruit trade. Although Pagoda is already a prominent commercial partner of South Africa and has been promoting our apples for a number of years, we are excited to grow our relationship on an industry level with Pagoda and for even more Chinese consumers to discover and enjoy our great-tasting apples.”

Images: Hortgro/Pagoda

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