2023 Asiafruit Congress Floor
25 September 2023

Insights from Asiafruit: Navigating the Current Produce Industry 

The week of Asiafruit Congress, back in its flagship destination of Hong Kong, was a week encompassing both internal and external development for the Vanguard International and Direct contingent that were in attendance.  While the latter half of the week was dedicated to supplier and customer meetings from sun up to well past sun down, the former was full of critical thinking and strategic planning among Vanguard colleagues hailing from various global offices.  

Here are our top 6 takeaways from the industry connecting event:  

Mother Nature’s Unpredictability. California rains, impact of early season New Zealand rains, early season rains and flooding in northern Peru, rains and flooding in Greece, aberrant weather patterns in Spain, heavy rains in central Chile, the unfortunate flooding in Libya, and the earthquake in Morocco – all were points of discussion during Asia Fruit Logistica. In a way to exemplify this point further, attendees experienced the most rain in Hong Kong history toward the end of the show, which led at the peak of the storm to organizers cancelling the final conference day.  

The Impact of Climate Changes and Significant Weather Events on Crop and Market Planning.  As we assess the current weather events on our crops and the impact on demand and markets, we also must address the “sense” that these events are not just “occasional” occurrences and determine how this might affect future investment and market planning strategies. 

Grape Projections: Given the rains in California and the impact on the California grape crop, the interest and demand on Peruvian grapes were greater and earlier than we normally see at this time of the year. 

Taxation and Tariffs: With the 20% reduction in tariff on U.S. apples to India, demand has ratcheted up and interest is at the highest level we’ve seen in the past several years. 

Navigating Economic Currents: Given the strong dollar and the global economic situation, it appears companies have hunkered down and are targeting to do equal or more business, but with less resources.  This has led customers to focus on programs that are profitable with less risk or show interest in only high demand products where there is confidence in selling in the marketplace.  No wide placed risk is being taken these days as markets continue to try to recover post-Covid in challenging global economic times. 

Streamlining the Industry: Consolidation surrounding growers globally, whether the results of catastrophic weather events or difficulties with increased bottom line related to labor, material, and growing costs. 

2023’s Asiafruit Logistica was, as always, a critical platform for the Vanguard International and Direct teams to gain invaluable insights and connection. From navigating the unpredictable forces of nature to adapting to shifts in tariffs and economic landscapes, the key takeaway is clear: agility and strategic planning are critical to growth and success. As we move forward, it is evident that the ability to adapt swiftly will be the linchpin in ensuring a thriving future for the sector. 

See a full wrap up video from organizers here