Hort Innovation’s current investment of the lychee R&D levy has a strong focus on market access, with the doors to the United States beginning to open. Recently, the first Australian lychees successfully made their way to the US under one of the industry’s projects, while new work is set to further remove barriers to US entry. Read more in the R&D snapshot below. To discover how the industry’s marketing levy is being put to use, head to the marketing snapshot.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

After you’ve read about the lychee industry’s current levy investments and outcomes in this edition of Hortlink, check out Hort Innovation’s lychee grower page. The grower page remains your one-stop-shop for industry information, including:

  • Important updates regarding the lychee Strategic Investment Plan (SIP), as available. Developed in close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders, the SIP is a document outlining the priorities for strategic investment in the industry. It is to be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the lychee Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest updates regarding the lychee SIAP, including details on the panel’s recently appointed chair, Eoin Wallis, and summaries from all SIAP meetings to date. The SIAP last met in June 2016 and is due to meet again in March.
  • The 2015/16 lychee industry annual report, detailing activities from the previous financial year.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the lychee industry.

Any questions?

As well as the lychee grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Astrid Hughes  is always available to answer questions on the lychee program on 0405 306 334 or at astrid.hughes@horticulture.com.au. For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Lead Graeme Yardy.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

US market access project (LY15001)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? With Australian lychees given the green light to enter the mainland United States in 2013 (with the exception of Florida), this three-year pilot program is working to open up this new export market. It involves a range of work, including:

  • Developing summaries on pests and diseases of quarantine concern, as well as chemicals and maximum residue limits
  • Developing pest monitoring guides
  • Sourcing and submitting packaging approval with relevant authorities
  • Grower registration and auditing.

What’s the latest update? As a result of the work of this project, on December 20, 2016, the first shipments of Australian lychees were exported to the US. The shipments passed all quarantine audit inspections to reach American consumers for the first time. A further shipment was sent to the US in early February 2017.

In this 2016/17 season of the pilot program, some of the achievements in the lead-up to this first shipment included all growers and packhouses taking part in the program being approved for export after AGWR audits in September. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority also approved the use of US-compatible Switch, for the control of pepper spot, in October.

A more detailed update on the successes of the second year of this program will be provided in the next edition of Hortlink. Any growers interested in taking part in year three of this initiative are advised to contact the Australian Lychee Growers Association.

Grower guides relating to export continue to be available through the Australian Lychee Growers Association, including information on pest and diseases of quarantine concern, as well as chemicals and maximum residue limits.

Treatment for mites on lychee fruit after irradiation for improved market access (LY16002)

Status: New project

What’s it all about? Beginning recently, this new project is looking to remove a potential barrier to the export of Australian lychees to the US: the presence of common pest the lychee erinose mite (Aceria litchii). Irraditiaton rates in the current protocol for export to the US are not able to kill this mite, and higher rates would damage the fruit. As a result, this project will investigate alternative treatments to reliably control the pest, such as post-harvest paraffinic oil dips or fumigation approaches.

What’s the latest update? As this project is only just beginning, a more detailed update will be provided in future editions of Hortlink.

Industry communication through Living Lychee (LY14000)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Involving the production of journal Living Lychee, this project plays a vital role in keeping growers up-to-date with relevant information, issues and R&D work related to the industry.

What’s the latest update? Living Lychee continues to be published and distributed to the Australian Lychee Growers Association mailing list, with PDF versions available for download on the industry website, www.australianlychee.com.au.

This project also involves maintenance of the industry website, with the uploading of practical content, news and other key information for growers.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY

This lychee season, Aussie Lychees marketing has once again continued the ‘Love From Lychees’ campaign theme, now in its fourth year. With a focus on social media, campaign messaging showcases lychees as an indulgent and healthy treat, available for a shorter season but still versatile for cooking and eating.

All activities are designed to celebrate lychee season, showcase versatility, and reinforce use and eating occasions to drive sales. There is the use of the #MeTimeMoment hashtag which, continuing on from last season, reinforces lychees as a guilt-free indulgence and the perfect snack for a bit of ‘me time’.

Facebook

On Facebook (www.facebook.com/AussieLychees), campaign messaging is communicated in recipe videos, trivia posts, top-tips posts and harvest imagery. There is also influencer content sharing. One of the most successful posts of 2017 so far has been a ‘how to peel a lychee; video, which has reached some 224,000 people, been viewed 111,000 times and received 4757 engagements.

There is also a competition period that’s all about the #MeTimeMoment. Running for six weeks, consumers are asked to comment on a weekly social media post, explaining their ideal lychee ‘Me Time Moment’ using the competition hashtag. Entrants go into the running to receive gift vouchers to purchase lychees and for a luxurious spa treatment. At the timeof writing the competition period was halfway, with posts reaching 73,216 people.


MeTimeMoment

Consumers are engaging with Aussie Lychees on social media, particularly through the Facebook competition being run across six weeks


Instagram

Being a visual medium, the Instagram channel (@aussielychees) is rich for providing beautiful serving suggestions, harvest imagery and sharing delicious and enticing influencer content. All the activity is geared towards showcasing versatility, encouraging consumer engagement, and building a strong community of lychee lovers around Australia.

Since activity kicked off on January 1 this year, Instagram posts are performing stronger than ever, with an average of almost 80 engagements (likes, comments, shares) per post.

For this season, a new activity on Instagram has involved engaging popular digital influencers to share lychee imagery that promotes versatility, serving suggestions and the health benefits of lychees. At the time of writing, 14 posts had been secured to be shared throughout the season, with seven posted so far to an audience of some 170,000 people and receiving upwards of 4450 likes and comments.

Influencer content series

In addition to other influencer content sharing, two popular health and foodie bloggers have been engaged to produce a series of lychee-filled content throughout the season for all their social channels. This activity is aimed at providing recipes and serving suggestions, and educating the influencers’ communities on the benefits of lychees.

The influencers are health, nutrition and lifestyle bloggers Jessica Sepel of JS Health and Lilian Dikmans of Real Food Healthy Body. They are due to begin publishing content shortly, sharing lychee recipes to their blogs and further lychee content across Instagram and Facebook. Combined, these influencers’ platforms reach over 900,000 people.

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