A Gala-Braeburn cross, the Kanzi® apple is keen to make its mark on the UK
Global apple brand Kanzi® is looking for more buyers in the UK, particularly at a retail level, as demand increases and southern hemisphere production ramps up thanks to relatively young orchards entering commercial bearing in South Africa, New Zealand and Chile. Produce Business UK caught up with Henry Müller, CEO of GKE NV in Belgium – the variety manager of the concept apple brand since 2004 – to discover more about the strategy for the UK
Produced worldwide by 18 grower-packer-shipper partners in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, the US and the UK, the Kanzi® apple has reached a number two position in Europe among branded apples and belongs among the three largest apple brands globally, according to Müller.
With Kanzi® being introduced to the UK market right from the beginning, by Adrian Scripps in Kent, Müller says it’s now important to continue developing the domestic market. “We strongly believe that in any country where we produce Kanzi® we need to build up the home market,” he explains.
Currently, both domestic as well as imported Kanzi® apples are being successfully marketed by all the major supermarkets in the UK, says Müller.
“Since more and more consumers are discovering Kanzi®, the demand is still rapidly increasing in the UK,” he comments. “One of our key targets for the coming years is to significantly broaden our distribution in order to give more consumers access to this apple, which ideally suits the UK consumer taste, as market research has shown in the past.”
Following the progress made at some of the UK’s leading supermarket stores in the last couple of years, Müller is confident Kanzi® can significantly further its development on the UK market. “Most of the retailers know the Kanzi® brand,” he notes.
Furthermore, although there are few produce brands marketed in the UK, Müller says the Kanzi® brand has a strong proposition to offer. “We believe we have something attractive,” he explains. “We can offer buyers an apple with consistent quality on a year-round basis that will sell itself. After the first bite, consumers love Kanzi® apples.”
Indeed, consistency is the key to winning over both UK retail buyers and consumers, according to Müller. In general, he says retailers want to be sure that the apple is consistent, with good brand awareness and consumer preference. “We’re continuing to work on brand awareness, which, of course, is closely linked with the broader availability of Kanzi® apples across the country.”
Consumer recognition will certainly be given a boost in 2015, as Kanzi® apples become available in the UK throughout the year thanks to the arrival of Southern Hemisphere-grown supplies in larger volumes for the first time.
Point of difference
Müller says that the apple’s taste profile is a major attraction for consumers and retail buyers. “Our flavour is notably different from other apples,” he explains. “It’s the unique balance between sweet and sour. It’s a firm apple that’s very crunchy with a nice juicy flesh. Kanzi® is a bi-coloured apple with a shiny red and greenish skin. It is really something different.”
He adds that Kanzi®’s different, shiny appearance is important for retailers and consumers because the apple looks attractive on the shelf, which is especially key if apples aren’t on consumers’ shopping list. “Another key feature of the apple is its long shelf-life for the consumer’s fruit basket at home,” Müller explains.
Consumers who’ve already tried Kanzi® have readily appreciated the apple’s flavour, according to Müller. “They use words like: delicious, amazing, juicy, refreshing and tasty to describe Kanzi®,” he reveals. “Some have said it’s like an apple should taste; full of flavour and even the best apple they’ve ever tasted. Many are asking where they can buy Kanzi® apples.”
To satisfy consumer demand, Müller says more work needs to be done on distribution in the UK over the next couple of years so people don’t have to ask where they can buy Kanzi®. Both retail and wholesale outlets are being targeted therefore.
“We see the potential in both avenues, not only retail,” he claims. “It’s very clear that both are interesting. But in general the retailers have bigger market share of the UK food market.”
To that end, Kanzi® exhibited at the the London Produce Show and Conference 2015 and will be at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham. At the same time, supermarket samplings and so-called ‘guerrilla marketing’ are being organised in order to gain direct consumer feedback and demand that Müller plans to use to support retailers in their sales offer.
Competitions via recipes will also be run and consumers will continue to be targeted through social media, including Facebook. All of which Müller says will provide good armoury with which to support UK buyers.
In February Kanzi® launched a new B2B website called kanziapplebusiness.com
to provide information on Kanzi® apple production, sales and promotional activities.