If we asked Poles about Polish food, they always say that it is the best and they also stress that Polish food is the tastiest. It is reflected in a volume of Polish production and a character of Polish exports. Food makes up approximately 12 percent of total Poland’s exports. Therefore it wouldn’t be unjustified to say that Poland is a food power.
Among the best exports, the most well – known are apples. Poland is the world’s fourth producer of these fruits. Regarding export, Poland is in the top three. So it is no surprising that when Russia introduced an embargo on some Polish products including apples, fruit growing industry faced threat of breakdown. But it didn’t collapse and there are few interesting aspects of those events.
“There is no such a thing as Polish brand” – says Roman Jagieliński, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture of Poland and a founder of Roja Fruit Producers Group, when talking about selling Polish apples abroad. For Poles, Polish brand does exist but abroad, not really. Why? Poland doesn’t communicate its advantages in a consistent way, while other countries invest more heavily in building their image. They do that because it works and helps, in establishing business relations as well. In respect of embargo – it turns out that, for instance, Polish apples themselves may be good Polish brand.
After imposing embargo
Right after embargo was introduced, we found out that Polish apples were exported mainly to Russia and a ban on trading them was a big blow to fruit growers. In response to the situation, photos with Poles eating apples appeared in social media. Action has gained grounds. Media across the world started to talk about how Poles support their fruit farmers. In a gesture of solidarity foreign journalists, among others, were publishing “apple-eating” selfies. In the UK, one of the newspapers published a list of grocery stores with Polish apples. Polish fruit growers were extremely surprised.
Embargo forced Polish fruit growing business to search for new markets. Domestic demand was not being able to absorb such amount of product. Polish orchards produce an average of about 83 kg per person a year! Poland launched information and marketing campaigns to encourage consumers to purchase Polish apples. Continuous communication resulted in reaching clients and getting in their minds. Polish apples are already known i.a. in China.
Companies have also joined “eat apple” campaign. For instance, Anwim were giving away free Polish apples at their gas stations under the slogan “ Support Polish fruit growers”. “We have bought large amount of apples directly from the producer. We delivered them to all our petrol stations and gave them away for free. We did that because we very much wanted to join action on supporting fruit growers ” – says Leszek Hendzel, Marketing and Advertising Director at Anwim – petrol stations Moya. Anwim, just like other companies, has contributed to changes in Poles’ awareness, showed that everyone can join and as a group have real impact on situation in the country. In this case, Poles managed to help fruit growers who were even saying that they were very pleasantly surprised.