Coronavirus creates demand for NZ organic apples

While many New Zealand primary producer exporters are hurting from the effect of coronavirus in China, the outbreak has created extra demand for New Zealand organic apples.

The health crisis has seen Chinese consumers stay away from their local wholesalers and wet markets.

As a result, Australasia's largest organic apple producer, Bostock New Zealand has just airfreighted its largest ever air shipment of organic apples to China. 

Bostock New Zealand owner John Bostock said they had sent Posy organic apples which are a new sweet variety. They have been bred for the Asia Market.

"The situation in China is devastating and it's meant that Chinese consumers aren't going out to the wet market or wholesale markets to buy their fruit as they avoid crowded public places. 

"They are buying it from trusted retailers where hygiene is better assured and many of these trusted retailers are our customers," said Bostock.

John Bostock with the Posy apples which have been bred with very high brix and high colour for the Asian markets.
John Bostock with the Posy apples which have been bred with very high brix and high colour for the Asian markets. Photo credit: Supplied

He said there had also been a significant increase in online sales for fresh produce as consumers looked to have groceries delivered to their homes so they don't have to step outside.

Bostock International Trader, Jane Maclean said more consumers turn to organics as they trust it more and believe it's safer for them and their families during a crisis like coronavirus. 

"New Zealand is a trusted source in a situation which is unfolding like this. Organics create another layer of trust for the Chinese consumer. 

"Logistically it's becoming difficult to buy fresh produce in China as the wholesale markets have shut down. Retail is still strong, and in fact more retailers are reporting increased sales as a result of the current situation, but they need to source their produce from somewhere and New Zealand is an attractive option for the high-end retailers," said Maclean.

The China market was growing for Bostock New Zealand and awareness of the organic category was also developing.

"Developing exclusive, high-quality apple varieties has been a big focus for Bostock New Zealand over recent years.  Our Asian customers are really excited about the oncoming new varieties we have, " said Bostock.