Hawke's Bay fruitgrowers president Leon Stallard says there is already an indication that export returns for apples this year may be better than in 2012.
Pipfruit New Zealand is predicting an export crop of 16.9 million cartons, with 60% of the volume coming from Hawke's Bay orchards.
Mr Stallard says the crop is in very good condition and growers are optimistic, particularly about sales in Asia.
"They want New Zealand apples because of the reputation that we have, that they're safe, the traceability of them, levels of residues that we can achieve far outstrips anyone else in the world."
Mr Stallard says the Asian market is very conscious of food safety and are willing to pay for that type of certainty.
However, he says the European market uses it as a non-trade barrier to set the bar higher so it can find reasons for not buying a New Zealand product.
Mr Stallard says the New Zealand market has been able to meet the European market's expectations but hasn't really been rewarded for it.