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Chilean fruit exports to China decimated

Even though fruit is a significant snack globally, and even vegetables are popular in the Asia-Pacific region (57%), cheese is the most eaten snack in Europe (58%), bread/sandwiches in the Middle East (47%), ice cream in Latin America (63%) and potato/tortilla crisps in the US (63%).


Chile’s fruit exporters association (ASOEX) has estimated the losses to the country’s exports to China at close to US$100 million. This news was announced at the second meeting of the public-private table where the effects of the coronavirus on Chilean exports to China were analysed. The meeting included chaired the Minister of Foreign Relations, Rodrigo Yañez and the President of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX), Ronald Bown Fernández.

“After the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations, there were expectations of a revival in trade. However, on Monday, February 10, only 68 containers of cherries were sold. While in total, during the first 48 hours of operations in the wholesale markets in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and others, only 249 containers of the existing fruit stock in the chain were sold, estimated at 1,500 containers of cherries,” said the President of ASOEX. He added: “The first sales prices have been lower than expected, also in relation to the values ​​reached before the Chinese New Year. We believe that if the current trend were maintained, lower revenues could be projected for the cherry export sector of between US$70 and 80 million. But if we add other fruit species to this, we could reach losses of about US$100 million. However, this could vary depending on how the situation develops. So, we are constantly evaluating the market and conversing with our representatives in China.”

There is also concern about the fruit in transit to China, estimated at 1,600 containers, whose expected arrival dates are between now and March 15. These shipments contain about 59 containers of blueberries, 173 containers of cherries, 872 containers of plums, 387 containers of nectarines, 30 containers of avocados and 134 containers of table grapes. 

The Chilean fruit export industry has adapted its export promotion strategy in China, which includes facilitating the consumption of the basket of fruits exported by Chile, including cherries, blueberries, peas and table grapes, to highlight their nutritional benefits. The consumption of fruits will be promoted via online media and in retail chains and the sector will continue to donate fresh fruit to clinics and health centres. The first delivery will consist of 1,000 1.5 kg boxes of blueberries, donated to the lung hospital of Shanghai.

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Chilean cherries played a prominent part in the recent Chinese New Year celebrations, as red is the traditional colour of the festival and the peak sales period for Chilean cherries in China. The Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) teamed up with food delivery service to hold the Harvest Your Red Moment and Deliver Happiness Together 2020 Chilean Cherry x Spring Shopping Festival Launch Ceremony. 

To satisfy the high consumer demand for Chilean cherries, has added Cherries from Chile to the “100-Million Yuan Subsidy” programme within its 2020 Spring Shopping Festival. The programme works together with sellers on the platform to subsidise sales of Chilean cherries. The platform guarantees fast delivery of the fresh fruit.

Charif Christian Carvajal, ASOEX’s Europe and Asia marketing director, said, “We hope that through our cooperation with, more consumers in China will be able to enjoy fresh, high-quality Cherries from Chile as part of their New Year celebrations and even onwards towards mid-February.”

Juan José Vidal Wood, Trade Commissioner at the Shanghai office of ProChile, said, “China is the primary market for exports of Cherries from Chile and cherries are an important component in the two countries’ flourishing economic relationship. Cooperation with will have a positive impact on the consumption and promotion of Chilean cherries in China.”

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China opens its door to more imports

China continues to increase its trade deficit in fresh fruit, with a 33% jump in imports of fruit from temperate zones in 2015

According to UN statistics, in recent years China’s imports of fresh fruit and vegetables have exceeded its exports, a trend that continued in the first half of this year. In 2015, China’s tropical fruit imports reached 2.9 million tons, up 8% yoy, and fruit imports from temperate regions climbed 33% to 0.75 million tons.

Thailand was again the biggest fruit exporter to China in 2015 – its 1.7 million tons accounting for 57% of the total volume – followed by the Philippines and Ecuador. The latter two being big exporters of bananas.

Though China is the world’s second largest banana growing country, with about 12 million tons annually, it is eager to top up its banana stocks, especially over winter, taking imports of 0.95 million tons.

Its imports of the high quality Ecuadorian banana rose to 283,00 tons but the opposite occurred for bananas from Costa Rica – which went from supplying 11,000 tons in 2014 to almost none in 2015.

Dragon fruit the king with 813,000 t

In 2015, Chain’s main import, other than bananas, tropical fruits by volume was dragon fruit (up 30% yoy to 813,000 tons), lychees and longan (405,000 tons), durians (300,000 tons), watermelon (200,000 tons) and mangoes and mangosteen (113,000 tons).

Thailand is the source of more than 90% of this fruit and dragon fruit accounts for about half of its tropical fruit exports to China. It is also the exclusive exporter of durian and dragon fruit. Vietnam exports 148,000 tons of fresh lychees and longans, both stalwarts on Chinese menus. Malaysia and Taipei supply China with mango, as does Australia with modest quantities in the off-season.

The volume of all fruit imported by China from Vietnam in 2015 was just over 158,600 tons, down 10% on 2014. Imports from Myanmar remained stable at under 70,000 tons. Indonesia and Malaysia both export less than 10,000 tons a year.

548,000 tons grapes, citrus, cherries and kiwifruit

China’s total imports and exports of deciduous fruit, kiwifruit and citrus are increasing constantly. In 2015, grapes had the largest volume (251,000 tons), followed by citrus (215,000 tons), cherries (92,000 tons), kiwifruit (90,000 tons) and pears (8,000 tons).

The biggest exporter of these kinds of fruit is Chile, which with an export volume of nearly 200,000 tons – mainly consisting of grapes and cherries – accounts for almost a fifth of China’s total. The US comes second with 126,000 tons – up 50% yoy.

Promotions have helped the US almost double its citrus exports to 40,000 tons, while South African citrus is a winner in summer (100,000 tons). New Zealand ‘Jazz’ apples found their way to Chinese supermarket shelves, while Zespri could overcome its tax problems with the Chinese authorities. Exports of kiwifruit increased more than 50% to 66,000 tons. In 2016, New Zealand surpassed the US and Chile to become China’s top apple supplier.

The market for Australian and Egyptian citrus opened up and exports reached 35,000 tons and 21,000 tons respectively. China’s neighboring country Uzbekistan is a larger supplier of grapes.

EU fruit shipments down since 2015

In 2015, the volumes of EU fresh fruit exports to China went down to 24,000 tons. Citrus imports achieved a poor 4,000 tons, while imports of kiwifruit from France and Italy went down to 12,000 tons. In 2016, a special effort was made to ship trial volumes of Belgian and Dutch pears and bi-colored apples from Poland. For 2017, Spain has high hopes for the results of a protocol signed between it and China allowing it to export peaches and plums there.

Since the Russian food embargo was applied in 2014, fruit and vegetables formerly exported to Russia have been partly reoriented towards certain Asian countries such as China and the Philippines, markets which were already open before 2014.

South East Asia – China’s main partner

On the export side, Southeast Asia remained the key market for China’s fruit, with Thailand at the top by far, followed by Vietnam and Malaysia, in terms of volume, Data shows exports to these countries have increased substantially every year. China’s top fruit exports are apples, grapes and citrus.




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Chilean cherries top Alibaba’s fresh produce sales on Singles’ Day in China

Alibaba's Mr. Fresh, ASOEX and Fruta Cloud joined forces to promote Chile’s cherries on China’s biggest shopping day ever

Chilean cherries have once again played a big role in Alibaba’s sales on Singles’ Day in China.

The e-commerce giant made a record RMB 120.7 billion (USD 17.8 billion) in gross merchandise volume during the shopping festival, celebrated on November 11.

According to a press release from Fruta Cloud – which helps customers source fresh, quality fruit from around the world – this year Chile’s fruit exporters association ASOEX joined with Alibaba and Fruta Cloud to promote the ideal growing conditions, the rich farming history and the advanced technology behind cherries from Chile.

Alibaba’s Mr. Fresh, ASOEX and Fruta Cloud joined forces to promote Chile’s cherries on China’s biggest shopping day

November 11 also marked the start of the Chilean cherry season and ASOEX’s marketing campaign, it said.

“As the major supplier for Alibaba’s Mr. Fresh, Fruta Cloud invested resources in procurement, quality control and logistics to guarantee the optimal consumer experience,” it said.

Known for its massive discounts, the November 11 shopping festival had a new theme this year to show that the Chinese consumers are looking for a premium product at a reasonable price.

Arrival of air freight of cherries from Chile to China imported by Fruta Cloud

“Mr. Fresh and Fruta Cloud unveiled super-sized (JJJ, 30mm) Chilean cherries for the first time.

“They were quickly sold out before the festival began. Indeed, Chilean cherries became the highest grossing item in the fresh produce category.

“Our effort demonstrates that there is a genuine and growing demand for premium produce on Alibaba’s Tmall platform,” said Fruta Cloud CEO George Liu.

“ASOEX’s marketing message really resonates with our customers, I think it’s a bold and effective campaign that helps Chilean cherries build strong brand recognition and loyalty in the minds of the growing upper middle class,” Liu said.

Source: Fruta Cloud