Vietnamese consumers are biting into Australian peaches and nectarines for the first time in 7 years. After Australia and Vietnam finalised market access protocols, LPG Cutri Fruit Global sent a shipment to the market to test the protocols. The fruits were quickly snapped up when they went on sale at one of Vietnam’s leading grocery store chains in March.
LPG Cutri Fruit Global laid the groundwork for this success by working with Austrade. The agency provided market insights and introduced the company to potential customers. When the protocols were finalised and LPG Cutri Fruit Global was approved to send a trial shipment, the company had a customer ready to start importing.
‘The customer introductions and support from Austrade were phenomenal,’ says Frank Frappa, Executive General Manager – International Sales, LPG Cutri Fruit Global. ‘I am forever grateful for their help.
‘Vietnamese consumers love large, sweet fruits and the Australian industry does a great job of growing it,’ he adds. ‘Many of us have been exporting to China for several years. To have another strong Asian market available to us is absolutely fantastic.’
LPG Cutri Fruit Global is a joint venture between two fresh produce companies. LaManna Premier Group (LPG) is a vertically integrated fresh produce supply chain company. It owns farms and has grower partners nationwide. Cutri Fruit is a third-generation family farm in Victoria, with 2,000 acres of peaches, plums, nectarines and avocados. The 2 companies joined forces in 2018.
LPG Cutri Fruit Global exports to Southeast Asia, North Asia, Canada and New Zealand. A firm believer in market diversification, it is constantly looking for new markets for its premium fruit.
In February 2022, Australia and Vietnam finalised a set of protocols that opens the Vietnamese market for Australian peaches and nectarines for the first time since 2015. LPG Cutri Fruit Global was one of five growers approved to export fruit and test the protocols on behalf of industry.
LPG Cutri Fruit Global started working with Austrade in mid-2021 to develop its business in Vietnam and prepare for market access. Austrade provided detailed briefings, covering differences between markets in north and south Vietnam and consumer preferences. The agency also introduced Frappa to potential customers and set up virtual meetings for him.
‘Because we couldn’t travel due to the pandemic, Austrade met and spoke to customers on our behalf,’ says Frappa. ‘They know who the real players are. It was a great help and gave us a solid foundation in the market very quickly.’
In March 2022, LPG received confirmation that it could ship peaches and nectarines to Vietnam. Frappa quickly emailed the companies Austrade had introduced him to over the last six months. He asked them to apply for import permits if they were interested in the company’s fruit.
One of these customers was a premium fresh fruit importer with 50 stores in Vietnam. It placed an order for 400 trays of peaches and 200 boxes of nectarines. Frappa decided to travel to Vietnam at the same time as the fruits’ arrival in the market in mid-March.
‘I only gave the Austrade team 72 hours’ notice, but they jumped straight into action,’ says Frappa. ‘They set up meetings with importers and retailers, recommended hotels and accompanied me to some of the meetings. I was absolutely amazed at how quick and supportive the team was.’
Frappa attended 2 official product launches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City hosted by the premium retailer. He also visited the company’s warehouse and stores.
‘Our peaches and nectarines were very well received by our retailer and their customers,’ says Frappa. ‘There was lots of excitement around the launches and consumer orders were strong.’
Above: Peaches in a store in Vietnam.
Frappa’s visit was not just commercial. He is on the board of the Summerfruit Export Development Alliance and an active member of Summerfruit Australia. He is passionate about telling overseas markets about the quality and diversity of Australian summerfruit.
‘The market access to Vietnam opens another export destination for Australian summerfruit growers,’ says Frappa. ‘There are 100 million consumers in Vietnam – it will be a rewarding market.’
Frappa has also been working with Austrade to expand LPG Cutri Fruit Global’s sales in Japan. The company has been exporting citrus and grapes to the market for three years and wanted to expand its presence.
‘Austrade did a great job introducing us to new customers,’ says Frappa. ‘Last year we started exporting citrus fruits to a major importer. This year, we are shipping grapes to another big importer. We’re stoked to have our fruits available at some of Japan’s premium retailers.’
LPG Cutri Fruit Global continues to work with Austrade to enter other markets, including Thailand.