The United States and China keep pelting each other with increased trade tariffs. This has led to the necessary pressure on prices in certain markets. It has also created opportunities. "Many American producers are looking at other markets. This means sales to places like Hong Kong and Malaysia are currently under pressure. By continually adding value, we keep attracting different markets", says Pepijn de Jong, Asian Account Manager at the Dutch wholesaler, Levarht.
For example, India is one of these emerging markets for Levarht. The company is gaining more and more ground in that country. "India is an emerging market", says Pepijn. "The products we deal with often do not even go through our warehouse in Aalsmeer. They go directly to their destination. We bring producers are clients into contact with each other and coordinate the whole chain. We organise promotions such as tastings in supermarkets. We also develop different concepts. It is a case of finding the right products from the right origin for the right market."
Levarht has a clear focus on retail in Asia. They also supply additional products to importers. "We supply Dutch vegetables year-round. These vegetables have always had a good reputation in the Far East. Furthermore, the demand for organic products is increasing enormously. Snack vegetables are also becoming more popular in Asia", Pepijn says.
"We aim to have a year-round assortment of our key products on the Asian market", he explains. "One of the many examples of this for that region is stone fruit. We can extend the stone fruit season with supplies from other countries, so it lasts the whole year. These countries include Spain, the USA, Chile, and South Africa. Paraguayos, in particular, are popular. We market these, along with peaches and nectarines under our 'Sweet Kiss' label."
Exporting to China from the Netherlands is still being complicated by that country's import restrictions. "So, it is our job to find the right product from the right country to link to China. In the case of tomatoes, we do that by being present with local cultivation. The export of Dutch bell peppers needs a longer start-up period than expected. Air transportation costs are high and local production is huge. We will, therefore, have to use branding and promotions to convince the Chinese of our products", concludes Pepijn.