Premium fresh fruit is what seems to be in demand from Indonesia, especially that which has been grown for the Indonesian palate.
Andrew Bell, director of Mountain Blue Farms in northern New South Wales, says the successful family-owned blueberry operation had been looking for export opportunities to expand beyond the domestic market, and eventually settled on Indonesia.
The country has a population of more than 255 million, making it a potentially important market.
“Indonesia has a significant population, right on our doorstep,” says Bell, whose company also runs its own breeding operation. “They also have a rapidly growing middle class who are a food and health conscious, and there happened to be existing protocols for getting blueberries into Indonesia.”
He says the typical agribusiness approach into Indonesia had either been about bulk supply (wheat, sugar), or it had entailed lower grade fruit and vegetables for specific markets.
“We saw a different market,” says Bell. “We wanted to be in the quality supermarkets that are being built for the middle classes. We have a premium product and that’s what we wanted to sell in Indonesia. We didn’t want to compromise on what we do.”
The company representatives spent a week in Indonesia in early 2017, meeting supermarket operators, wholesalers and distributors.
“They all dealt with Australian food imports, and their view of our produce was the clean and green image. It’s our image up there and that’s what the Indonesian operators are selling to consumers.”