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Chilean Blueberry Season in China Kicks Off with Element Fresh Co-Promotion

December 24, 2019

With China just having finished celebrating the winter solstice, Christmas right around the corner, and Lunar New Year coming up on Jan. 25, the country is now entering its peak sales season for fresh fruit imported from the Southern Hemisphere. Among Chinese consumer favorites are blueberries from Chile, which is China’s top supplier of imported fruit by value. To kick off the Chilean blueberry season in China, the Chilean Blueberry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) has teamed up with the Shanghai-based healthy dining chain Element Fresh to run a co-branded promotional activity for fresh blueberries, which was launched in Shanghai on Friday with a ceremony at the chain’s Metro Plaza branch. This promotion is part of a broader multi-channel campaign by the Chilean Blueberry Committee for the 2019/20 blueberry season, which aims to position blueberries as a versatile culinary ingredient and healthy snack choice.

The co-branded promotion, run under the theme of “New Dish in Blue,” will give Element Fresh customers the opportunity to redeem their reward points for free sample packs of Chilean blueberries until Jan. 5. There are more than 40 Element Fresh restaurants in nine cities across China. Both organizations are sharing the promotion with their respective social media audiences.

“This is the first time we’re promoting fresh blueberries through a major restaurant chain in China,” said Charif Christian Carvajal, ASOEX’s marketing director for Europe and Asia, who spoke with Produce Report at the promotion’s launch ceremony. “This is very exciting. Element Fresh is one of China’s premium healthy food restaurants. Both Blueberries from Chile and Element Fresh are purveying premium, healthy food products with a strong focus on quality and safety. Furthermore, we want to position Chilean blueberries as a versatile culinary ingredient that be used at any meal or any time of the day. So it is a perfect fit.”

According to George Wang, president of Element Fresh, his brand chose to work with the Chilean Blueberry Committee to promote Chilean blueberries because of their reliable high quality and compatibility with Element Fresh’s goal of helping its customers live healthy lifestyles.

“Element Fresh customers trust us to introduce them to great products,” says Wang, who is a personal fan of blueberry smoothies. “Blueberries are a fantastic ingredient with a robust nutritional profile including high levels of anthocyanins, which we already feature regularly on Element Fresh menus, especially in desserts and smoothies. Through this promotion with the Chilean Blueberry Committee, our customers can learn more ways to integrate fresh blueberries into their daily eating patterns.”

The Element Fresh promotion is one part of the Blueberries from Chile 2019/20 campaign in China. There will also be a variety of other social media and online and offline retail promotions over the course of the season. Furthermore, says Carvajal, “finally we will be repeating our very successful promotion last year of positioning blueberries as a fresh and healthy snack in cinema channels.”

Chilean blueberries are available from October to April each year, with volumes peaking in January and February. “In general, this season is a very good one, with higher volumes than last year,” says Carvajal. “We’re looking at around 115,000 tons of fresh blueberry exports to the world this season, a 4% increase compared to the previous season.”

With some blueberry growing regions in China able to supply blueberries during the winter months, imported blueberries from Chile must rely on consistent and high quality to differentiate themselves in the Chinese marketplace. Alongside Chile’s excellent climatic conditions, Carvajal cites the country’s long history and expertise in producing and exporting fruit as the reasons behind the high quality of Chilean blueberries. Additionally, he notes, “Chile is currently undergoing a massive upgrade in terms of blueberry varieties. Our growers and exporters are investing in varieties that can travel better, that are sweeter, and that are bigger in size and crunchier. And this year, the Chilean Blueberry Committee has inaugurated a comprehensive quality control system to make sure that we have a baseline for the quality and consistency of fresh blueberries that we are exporting across the globe.”

Images: ASOEX