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‘It’s Sugar Plum Season!’ Say ASOEX and Ele.me in China Joint Promotion

March 06, 2023

With another successful Chilean cherry season coming to a close, China’s fresh fruit industry is currently welcoming the arrival of Chilean sugar plums, an up-and-coming product in China’s counterseasonal fruit market. This season, the Stone Fruit Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) is teaming up with leading Chinese food delivery platform Ele.me to spread the word to Chinese consumers about Chilean sugar plums and how they fit into a light and healthy lifestyle.

The core of the promotion consists of festooning the delivery boxes of 500 scooter drivers in downtown Shanghai with promotional graphics for Chilean sugar plums. The blue-clad Ele.me delivery drivers are a ubiquitous sight in major Chinese cities and the advertisements are expected to attract 1.4 million views during their March 8 to 21 run. As part of the promotion, consumers are being encouraged to type “it’s sugar plum season” into the Ele.me app search box, which will take them directly to a Chilean sugar plum themed landing page with special coupons and a list of sugar plums available for delivery from various merchants.

Chilean sugar plums are made from European plum varieties that have historically been used for processing into prunes. In the fresh form, their sweet flavor has proven popular with Chinese consumers, and imports of fresh sugar plums into China have increased dramatically over the past decade. As part of their growing popularity, sugar plums have started to catch on with health- and diet-conscious consumers in China — especially women in their mid-20s to 30s in first- and second-tier cities. Produce Report interviewed one frequent sugar plum purchaser who said that she first learned about Chilean sugar plums on the popular social media service Xiaohongshu (“Little Red Book”), where she often saw fitness and beauty influencers recommending them as a tasty and nutritious snack. During the Chilean sugar plum season, the woman said that she purchases sugar plums once or twice a week, usually on home delivery or e-commerce platforms — and especially when she stumbles across a digital coupon.

According to Ele.me, sales of Chilean sugar plums on its platform have been steadily increasing in recent years in first-tier cities alongside growing awareness of the fruit’s nutritional properties among female consumers. In 2022, sales of Chilean sugar plums on Ele.me exceeded 10 million Chinese yuan ($1.4 million). Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou had particularly high awareness and acceptance of Chilean sugar plums compared with other cities. Ele.me hopes to raise these metrics among females in other first- and second-tier markets during the current season.

The Stone Fruit Committee’s theme for Chilean sugar plum promotion in China this season is “enjoy a light and beautiful lifestyle,” which aims to highlight the nutritional properties of sugar plums of particular relevance to women. The effective promotion of sugar plums is especially important because — despite the advanced cultivation, harvesting, processing and shipping technologies employed by Chilean producers — sugar plums are nevertheless a perishable fruit with a relatively narrow window of availability. March is the peak season for consumers in China to enjoy Chilean sugar plums. Owing to stable weather conditions in Chile’s sugar plum growing areas, there is ample supply on the market for them to choose from.

Images: ASOEX

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