The economic crisis in Europe is accelerating a major marketing shift for the pipfruit industry, as Asia becomes the increasing focus for apple exports.
Pipfruit New Zealand says there's a structural change going on in apple production, which is reflected in a forecast drop of 27% in this season's export crop for Braeburn, which used to be the main commercial apple variety.
Chief Executive Alan Pollard says the shift is largely due to a change in the Asian market which is offering good opportunities, and exporters remain optimistic about the performance of Braeburn this season, with the reduced crop.
He says the slow down in demand in Europe has also hit other varieties.
Southern Hemisphere suppliers have responded by reducing Royal Gala exports to Europe by nearly 40%.