How do you like them apples? China’s dominance forces Canada’s apple growers to experiment with new varieties


China dominates the apple juice export market. Unable to compete, Canada’s apple growers have been forced to adapt to changing circumstances. 

As the world production of apple juice concentrate has increased, prices have dropped. This has occurred at a time when many local producers are facing increased production costs.

Unable to compete with importers domestic producers have chosen to diversify their output – moving away from juice apples, and focusing on developing new varieties. The Ontario Apple Growers are working with researchers to develop products that consumers desire through selective breeding processes. Not only can new varieties can be sold at premium prices, but producers can find tap markets even as old ones close down.

By staying ahead of consumer preferences (and even guiding them by introducing and re-introducing of varieties), growers are finding that they can maintain their profitability.

As trade continues to globalise, many businesses must find new ways of doing business. Do they slash costs and try to focus on producing commoditised product such as apple juice, or move upmarket with a premium product such as Honeycrisp or Ambrosia apples?

Author: Simon Salole, HLB Canada, Partner at Millards

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