JAKARTA—ASIAFRUIT speaks exclusively to Fedie Mulia, founder and director of local Indonesian fresh produce brand Halo Fresh, about his foray into horticulture.
by Phillip Morey
What is the background to Halo Fresh?
Fedie Mulia: Halo is a proud local brand, a 100 per cent Indonesian agricultural corporation headquartered in Jakarta. Established in 2016. Halo has a heartfelt passion for building a healthier nation, so were committed to growing, marketing and selling the best quality Indonesian fresh fruit and vegetables in line with global standards.
It all started when I noticed that the market in Indonesia was craving high-quality fruit and vegetables. Such items were rare and difficult to find. High quality means not only that the fruit is very good in taste, but also attractive in terms of uniformity and ripeness, no defects, and most importantly safe to consume.
Indonesia has a strong potential to grow high-quality tropical fruit, but production was limited and the quality consistency of the produce was lacking. This problem was due to lack of farming knowledge and adoption of modern technology.
I previously worked for the Dole Food Company, one of the world’s biggest producers of high-quality fruit and vegetables, where I was responsible for the Indonesian market. As the Dole representative in Indonesia, I was able to see the huge potential of the agricultural landscape and also the retail fresh markets in Indonesia. Therefore, in 2016 I teamed up with my best friends and partners and we established Halo Fresh. Halo Fresh aims to solve the problem of limited supply of high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables in Indonesia
Which fresh products are you growing?
FM: At this moment we are trying to focus on our core products: Cavendish bananas and hydroponic vegetables like the lettuce family and oriental vegetables. In the future, we will extend our product range to include other tropical fruit for Indonesia, other Asian countries and Middle Eastern markets.
How did sales go in the first half of 2018?
FM: In the first half of 2018 we were still in production and selling trial mode. But, we have received a very positive response so far in terms of the quality of our products and product acceptance in the market. During the second half of 2018 we have begun to scale up our production and sales targets.
What are Halo Fresh’s main challenges in Indonesia?
FM: Our main challenges in the agricultural industry are the limitation of international knowledge, and lack of availability of advanced technology and qualified resources (equipment and human resources). Modern tropical fruit farming and access to technology is not yet very common in Indonesia; unlike the palm oil industry which is much more popular and advanced than the horticulture industry. We aim to change this approach and have adopted modern farming practices and technologies on our horticultural farm.
What trends are you noticing in the Indonesian fresh fruit market?
FM: The Indonesian people today are more health conscious, which means they are now aware of the importance of consuming good quality fresh fruit. Healthy lifestyle activities including exercise and ‘clean eating’ are becoming very popular in Indonesia.
Indonesian customers currently are much ‘smarter in choosing their healthy products. Therefore, in the fresh fruit industry, brand and product originality become very essential factors to customers.
How important is promotion and branding in driving your fresh fruit sales?
FM: We think promotion and branding are very important in driving fresh fruit sales, especially to achieve our long-term targets. We believe that with the right branding people will see the quality of the products. Also, with the right packaging, Halo Fresh will be comparable with other fresh products from both Indonesia and internationally.
What promotional activities are you conducting for Halo Fresh?
FM: Our promotional activities occur in-store and online. It’s basically 360 degrees of branding and promotional activities. Social media is very important in our promotional plan because Indonesians are some of the highest users of social media. Instagram, Youtube and Facebook are very popular among Indonesians.
What other plans do you have over the next five years?
FM: We will continue to produce and source high-quality fruit and vegetables. We will try to meet all the market requirements and volume, offering the right supply for the right demand. We will keep expanding the business and we will continue to improve our farming technology.
Source : Asiafruit Magazine – September 2018 Issue