Pink Lady®, still has many plans after 20 years
Director of Star Fruits, Renaud Pierson analyzes the role of the license manager in the success of Pink Lady® and the growing rise of the responsibilities of the title holders to the varieties and brand, while the path of globalization opens .
What is the initial role of Star Fruits in the Pink Lady® adventure?
RP: The historic act is to have obtained the management of an exceptional variety, ie producing a beautiful fruit with good productivity. Then, as the holder of property rights of the variety and brand, Star Fruits built with partners, producers and distributors, the support framework for success. This collaborative framework, developed by the Pink Lady® Association of Europe is based on respect for qualitative targets, an innovative marketing policy and strict management of licenses. This is the fundamental role of Star Fruits: framed by a series of licensing the production chain of plants and fruits, packaging, distribution, import and processing of fruit. This virtuous economic network based on the commitment of licensees that remain responsible in their respective trades.
How does a sector organized by intellectual property rights and licenses provide security for its stakeholders and consumers?
RP: In addition to an exceptional product and a successful marketing strategy, it is the consistency of licenses, and ensures that each Star Fruits commitment is controlled, or that any form of copying or unfair competition is systematically prosecuted, which allows every professional to engage in his or her profession with confidence. Confidence in the product, its partners and in the strategy for the future. For example, we had fears for the 2014/2015 season: the end result is positive for all because the values, principles and product promise were defended against all odds. In this way, the extension of the import business licenses allow for the organization of the continuity of market supply with respect to product quality and a counter-season policy that is consistent with the European period.
But everyone must remain humble in their field: we are an agricultural product whose first step is taken in the orchard, and Pink Lady® evolves in the basic food universe. Considering the role of Star Fruits, this means that each player meets its commitments embodied by the contracts signed with Star Fruit and constitutes the framework that we have imposed upon ourselves.
What are the core competences of Star Fruits today?
RP: We have, by nature, a role that remains in the shadows. With our international partners and other European license managers, EVI, our role is to look for varietal improvements and make them available to producers. In this research, we must ensure we do not deviate from the high quality standard which has allowed us to earn the trust and loyalty of consumers. Then, with licensed nurserymen, we organize the distribution of plants from producers (almost 2800) and pilot the renewal and development plan of the orchard (over 350 ha in programming for winter 2015/2016). Each plantation is controlled. Monitoring of parallel production falls within our assignment, such as the fight against all forms contraband or unfair competition on varieties and brands, both for European productions, as well as imported products.
20 years ago, the concept of intellectual property was quite foreign to our industry. Pink Lady® has helped change those habits. We are mobilizing energy, rigor and selflessness at all times to maintain confidence. In Europe, we therefore have the triple mission of improving the basic equipment, ensuring its development, and to keep watch for any deviant activity.
Star Fruits missions outside the European context. What are the international prospects?
RP: The variety comes from Australia. The brand is global property of an Australian company (APAL). The apple is a worldwide fruit. The project can therefore only be international. The activity of Star Fruits already falls out of the European framework through the certification of plantations set up in Brazil and Chile on the basis of the community rights of Star Fruits. Regarding the brand, Europe remains the center of activity: the marketing concept was born in England under the leadership of Australian producers, and later in France under the umbrella of the Pink Lady® Europe Association (APLE). The European bloc is the world’s largest orchard with 5,020 ha planted. Exports to Europe account for over 95% of world trade of Pink Lady®, which constitutes a significant part of apple imports in the European Union.
But Pink Lady® is no exception to the globalization of trade and its development will also take on the world markets. Pink Lady® is entering a global phase of development of its consumption.
In this strategic logic, Star Fruits joined APAL 2 years ago to constitute Pink Lady® Development Ltd (PLD). Star Fruits somehow became “co-manager” of the global brand. By extension, APLE, inseparable partner of Star Fruits in this adventure, is thus found directly involved in the management of this international project. As the operating territory of the brand, Europe is in the position to share its expertise and values worldwide, and in doing so, to exercise leadership. Pink Lady® Development Ltd hired its first employee in Asia, others will follow. Star Fruits remains active in these developments with APAL; For Star Fruits, leader in the European market, this is an opportunity. But it is also a unique opportunity for members of the APLE to conquer these new horizons while staying at the heart of the strategy.
The future is highly international with major participation of Star Fruits and APLE. Not to mention European issues where Star Fruits will continue to play a role through contracts, a growing industry that already weighs more than 250,000 tons. This brings with it responsibilities and obligations. It also opens a field of opportunities and achievement for Star Fruit, but also for all its partners and for APLE.
The Pink Lady® notebooks
Vegetable, Supplement No. 238 of December 2015