Visiting Hong Kong and Singapore mid 2018 with six organic food companies we discovered new consumer trend and buyer perception insights – as well as ideas on how to make the most of it all.
Below, we hear from some of the companies who travelled with us, about market-specific trends they noticed in size, flavour and price.
We were excited to have Don Murray from Nature’s Haven on our mission as we don’t often get to work with fresh produce companies. We found his insights just as interesting as he did for his business.
“The packaging is often too big – partly to protect it from being knocked around by the time the consumer gets it at the other end,” he said. “They package foods at the same size that we do in Australia. If you’ve got two people in your house, a 500 gram pack of zucchinis in a fridge in Hong Kong is a problem because they wanted to use it all in one night.”
Housing density is high, which translates to smaller storage spaces, including fridges and pantries. This is especially true in Singapore. Don shared his experience of this trend while on the trip:
We’re selling pumpkin in Singapore – and I got to see it there, onshelf. They actually had it cut small enough to be under AUD$2 on the shelf in the supermarket. At that sort of price point, it moved.” – Don Murray, Nature’s Haven
Murray River Organics is a fully integrated producer of dried vine fruit in Australia, with ownership of the entire supply chain from the vines to the customer. Adelyn Chee, Sales & Marketing Manager, shared her insights from the trip:
“I’ve got relatives in Singapore and you look at their fridge and their pantry space and they can’t take a one kilo bag of sultanas, and it takes up half their pantry space.” – Adelyn Chee, Murray River Organics
Buyer meetings in Singapore and Hong Kong revealed real-time responses to commercial strategies – informing the companies of small changes which could bring in big results.
“We were presenting flavors like lemon and orange and they would rather berries and things that they would see as a premium flavor or local flavors like durian and things like that, rather than what we thought was premium. For us we’ve got coconut trends but then, over there it’s, their next door neighbor and it’s cheap as chips. It really was an eye-opener for me in terms of what they see as premium versus what we were pitching as premium.” – Adelyn Chee, Murray River Organics
Price is an important factor in any market, and when applied to organics in Hong Kong and Singapore, it has an additional flavour. Don Murray shares his insights:
“In Singapore, when it comes to fresh produce, their priorities are first price; second, quality; and then price again. Quality is not such a big deal – as long as it says organic and it looks like what it’s supposed to look like.
“In Hong Kong it’s 1.) price, 2.) price, and then 3.) price. But that’s where we have a real chance; because I saw that they need better produce on their shelves – and people would buy it if we could make it happen.
“They have organic produce from all over the world in their stores – but not all of it is certified organic. In-store, I noticed a lot of Australian flags on produce, so I think we can assume that there’s more demand for the Australian product.”
What can Australian producers do to make the most of the good reputation we’ve so rightly earned in these markets? Anni Brownjohn, Founder and Managing Director of OZGANICS (and an attendee on the tour), says that we need to unite our voices to further educate the consumers and buyers about the value of organics. Then, the benefits will come naturally.
To learn more about our market visit programs, reach out. We are organising a rich and fulfilling schedule for 2019 and we’d hate for you to miss out! Express your interest to be kept abreast of developments. Watch our invitation video here.