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Chilean Blueberry Committee Hosts Launch Event at Wholesale Market

January 16, 2020

On Jan. 10, the Chilean Blueberry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) held a launch event at the Jiaxing Haiguangxing Wholesale Fruit Market in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, to celebrate this year’s blueberry exports. From the blue carpet and check-in book to the passionately performed percussion show featuring blue instruments, the entire event was blueberry themed.

Both committee representatives and Chinese importers and wholesalers also wore the trademark blue scarf of the Chilean Blueberry Committee.

Charif Christian Carvajal, ASOEX’s marketing director for Europe and Asia, and Xu Zheng, general manager of Jiaxing Haiguangxing Business Management Co. Ltd., both delivered speeches at the event.

Carvajal mentioned that Chile’s blueberry exporting season is between October and March every year. He also assured the audience that as China is such an important market for Chilean blueberries, the committee will ensure that only the best products are shipped to the country’s consumers.

Xu explained that because Chile’s blueberry season happens to coincide perfectly with Chinese New Year this year, Chilean blueberries would be a perfect addition to the celebrations. The two speakers then joined forces to open a crate of tasty blueberries, which were subsequently distributed to audience members.

ASOEX represents 96% of Chile’s total fruit exports, while its Chilean Blueberry Committee represents 76% of the country’s blueberry exports. According to Carvajal, Chile’s blueberry exports to China are expected to reach approximately 110,000 metric tons this year — an increase of 4% over last year. Owing to their sweet, fruity flavor and crisp texture, Chilean blueberries are becoming increasingly popular with consumers. Additionally, the fact that this year’s blueberry season coincides with Chinese New Year celebrations has led Chilean blueberries to become a must-have item for many Chinese consumers.

The U.S., Canada and Europe have traditionally been the major export markets for Chile’s blueberries. Over the last decade, however, the Chinese market has seen rapid growth, with the proportion of Chile’s blueberry exports destined for China increasing from 3% to 12% of the total volume. According to Kurt Huang, CEO of Shanghai Oheng Import & Export Corporation, this significant increase in the import volume of Chilean blueberries is largely attributable to reduced tariffs. In the past, Chilean blueberries entering China were subject to a 30% tariff, and the total volume was understandably small. Now, however, free trade between China and Chile has eliminated tariffs altogether, resulting in a substantial increase in overall import volumes alongside a considerable drop in prices.

At the launch event, Carvajal told reporters that Chile is the largest producer of blueberries in the Southern Hemisphere and that the Chilean Blueberry Committee has standards regarding blueberry varieties, planting techniques, sorting equipment and shipping to ensure that the size, color and flavor of its blueberries all meet consumer expectations. Furthermore, the Chilean Blueberry Committee is working to facilitate further improvements in quality via the introduction of a new quality system and new blueberry varieties.

Chilean blueberries — a fruit from half a world away — are increasingly popular with Chinese consumers owing to their superior quality and affordable prices. Consequently, Chilean blueberries will be more visible in supermarkets and e-commerce platforms as Chinese New Year approaches.

Images: Pixabay (main image), ASOEX (body images)