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Driscoll’s Celebrates 10th Anniversary in China With Ambitious Future Plans

May 31, 2023

According to news reports from China Daily and Xinhua Finance, U.S. berry giant Driscoll’s is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary in China and has already established over 2,000 hectares of berry plantations in Yunnan province. In 2022, the company produced an impressive 15,000 metric tons of berries in China, resulting in an annual sales revenue of 1.7 billion Chinese yuan ($239 million). Looking ahead to 2023, Driscoll’s projects that sales will reach 35,000 metric tons or 2.4 billion yuan ($337 million). Furthermore, the company intends to triple its investment in China over the next five years, which is hoped to contribute to maintaining an annual growth rate of 20–30%.

In 2013, Driscoll’s established its inaugural production base in Yunnan’s Honghe Prefecture, thus becoming the first foreign-funded berry company to engage in large-scale cultivation in China. In 2016, fresh berries under the renowned Driscoll’s brand were officially launched on the Chinese market, further solidifying the company’s presence in China.

By 2022, the company and its associated growers had invested over 2 billion yuan ($281 million) in Yunnan. In addition to berry plantations, Driscoll’s has also opened a berry cultivation center in the province. By employing pioneering agricultural concepts, a novel business model, and advanced sowing and seedling technologies covered by independent intellectual property rights, Driscoll’s is dedicated to delivering premium-quality berries to the Chinese market.

Miles Reiter, chairman and CEO of Driscoll’s, said that the Chinese berry market holds enormous potential and the company’s business in China has entered a period of rapid growth. Guided by the Healthy China 2030 initiative, premium berries have become an integral part of the daily dietary choices for an increasing number of health-conscious consumers.

According to a report prepared by market research firm Beijing Jianle Shangbo Science and Technology Co. Ltd. (北京简乐尚博科技有限公司), China has grown into one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of berries. In recent years, as people’s preferences for healthy foods have evolved and their disposable incomes have increased, berries have gained remarkable popularity as a sought-after food ingredient. It is forecast that China’s berry consumption market will reach 8.8 billion yuan ($1.24 billion) by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.8%. Growing demand from the food and beverage sectors, particularly the bakery industry, has further contributed to the increasing consumption of berries in China.

Reiter stated that Driscoll’s plans to sell 35,000 metric tons of berries this year, representing a year-on-year increase of 25%. Given that market demand in China is expected to remain strong, Reiter anticipates a similar growth rate over the next five years, paving the way for an even more promising future ahead.

Blueberries currently enjoy the largest sales volume among Driscoll’s product categories in China, while the volumes of blackberries and raspberries have also experienced substantial growth in recent years. With respect to promotional strategies for the Chinese market, Reiter said that the company aims to further enhance awareness of blackberries and raspberries among Chinese consumers and bolster its strawberry sales during the summer season.

Over the past decade, Driscoll’s has witnessed remarkable progress in China’s berry sector, particularly in terms of cultivation technologies and research and development innovations, resulting in increased yields and high fruit quality. Reiter also noted that all berries produced in Yunnan used to be sold locally, but starting this year Yunnan-grown berries will be shipped to overseas markets. By exporting high-quality and flavorful berries from Yunnan, the CEO believes that consumers worldwide will soon recognize Yunnan’s ability to produce exceptional fruit products.

To ensure a stable year-round supply, Driscoll’s has implemented a strategy of cultivating berries around the world. Considering factors such as soil and climate, Yunnan has become a key planting base for Driscoll’s in the Asia-Pacific region.

Tian Renjie, general manager of Driscoll’s China, emphasized the significance of cold chain logistics for preserving the freshness of berries. According to Tian, in the past, Driscoll’s primarily exported berries from North America, Mexico and South America to various markets. However, with the increasing production volume in Yunnan, the company has devised a plan to export fresh berries produced in China to other Asian markets.

Image: Driscoll’s

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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