How about them apples: demand booms for Bravo® apple in Southeast Asia

A unique Australian apple is rising in popularity across Southeast Asia, thanks to its striking appearance, sweet juiciness and enormous health benefits.

The Bravo® apple is well known in Australia, and is fast becoming the apple of the international consumer’s eye.

Austrade is continuing to back Bravo® apples in Southeast Asian markets this season. It is working with Australian exporter WA Farm Direct to range the Bravo® apple through a major Thai supermarket chain. In Indonesia, Austrade and the Western Australian Government are supporting a Bravo® apple showcase in specialist boutique produce stores.

A dinky-di Aussie apple with plenty of a-peel

The Bravo® apple has strong Australian roots.

Hailing from Western Australia and bred locally as variety ANABP01, it was first trialled for commercial production in 1992. The late John Cripps – a WA Government apple breeder and creator of the Cripps Pink variety, or Pink Lady – crossed the Cripps Red and Royal Gala varieties.

Over the next 20 years, the resulting trees and fruit were cultivated, tested and developed. In 2014, it was released for trials in Australian orchards, and launched with Australian retailers 2 years later.

Today, there are more than 90 growers across Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. There are also plans to expand commercial production to Tasmania in the next few years.

Its rich burgundy skin isn’t the Bravo® apple’s only one-of-a-kind feature. It boasts pearly white flesh, a hearty crunch, and strikes the perfect sweet-acidic balance. It is rich in flavonoids, making it an excellent health choice. In a win for consumers and retailers, it is also slow to oxidise or turn brown.

Fourth-generation fruit marketer WA Farm Direct is the proud Australian exporter of the Bravo® apple.

‘Australia has a wonderful opportunity with this apple,’ says Sean Engelbrecht, Bravo® Apples National Development Manager, WA Farm Direct.

This season, it is expected that over 6,000 tonnes will be harvested, up 30% on 2021.

Austrade support helps Bravo® apples stand out

Demand for the Bravo® apple is growing in Southeast Asia. Austrade’s assistance – particularly in Thailand – is helping it to bear fruit.

Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, and Australia’s sixth largest two-way trading partner. It is a dynamic market, with fresh produce enjoying rapid growth. This is due in part to high demand from the retail sector.

WA Farm Direct exports Bravo® apples to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and the UAE. Consumers in the Philippines and Cambodia are also starting to take an interest.

The company began its journey into Thailand 4 years ago. At the time, Austrade was on the lookout for a great apple variety for the market.

In 2020, WA Farm Direct sent 2 containers of Bravo® apples to Thailand. Austrade then connected WA Farm Direct with Thai retailer Siam Makro’s quality assurance team to discuss the apple’s unique nature.

Since then, exports have significantly increased. This season alone, WA Farm Direct anticipates sending up to 3 times more containers to Thailand. This is despite challenges such as increases in freight costs, shipping delays and inflationary pressure worldwide.

Austrade’s Bangkok team is collaborating with Siam Makro to range the Bravo® apple across Thailand. A campaign dubbed ‘7.7 at Fresh@ Makro’ targeted consumers looking for special deals on significant dates (7.7 for 7 July). Season-long activity also spans in-store competitions and point-of-sale materials.

Austrade has also recently conducted hybrid-format roadshows on fresh produce for Siam Makro staff. This training took place in 145 stores, reaching an estimated 700 staff. Importantly, it showed how to handle, store and promote the Bravo® apple – and even included cooking demonstrations.

Taking off in Thailand

Efforts to promote the Bravo® apple in Thailand are paying off.

‘WA Farm Direct is committed to increasing Australian Bravo® apple exports. Austrade has been very active and passionate in helping us grow the Thai market,’ says Engelbrecht.

‘In recent years, we have seen active discussion and interest in several Southeast Asian markets. However, given the situation related to the pandemic, it has been challenging commercially to make things happen.

‘This year, we are getting more insights from those markets which will inform our 2023 export season. Thailand is leading the way in terms of activity in-market. More and more consumers are discovering this exceptional eating experience.

‘We’re excited to continue working closely with Austrade’s local team to continue the growth trajectory in Thailand.’

High hopes for Indonesia

This year, WA Farm Direct also hopes to hit the mark with Indonesian consumers. When Indonesia initially received its first Bravo® apples last year, pandemic-related store capacity restrictions were in place.

Indonesian consumers are increasingly looking for healthier snacking options. With Austrade and WA Government support, taste testers, in-store promotions and other clever marketing initiatives will showcase the Bravo® apple.

‘Over time, we believe this apple will take the world by storm. It is unparalleled in its combination of appearance, taste and health benefits. It is proudly Australian and presents a great opportunity for Australian apple exports to be revived and have a positive, sustainable impact on our industry,’ says Engelbrecht.

The ANABP01 apple, Bravo® and its associated marks are owned by the Western Australia Agriculture Authority and used under licence by Fruit West Co-operative Ltd.

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