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‘Ready-To-Eat’ Chinese Kiwis Hit Shelves, Enjoy Great Success

November 27, 2020

In early October, “ready-to-eat” Cui Xiang kiwifruit from Shaanxi province hit the shelves at Hema. According to data from the retail chain, the daily sales volume increased by 12 times over the course of the month and the brand also displayed the highest repeat purchase rate of all kiwifruit products sold. Within three weeks of hitting the market, weekly sales of Cui Xiang kiwifruit even surpassed those of imported brands, which until now have always been the market leader. Industry insiders report that this represents an unprecedented breakthrough in the sector, possibly marking the moment that domestically grown fruits disrupt the dominance that foreign brands have so far held on the Chinese kiwifruit market.

Kiwifruit have been rapidly gaining popularity over the past several years. However, one problem that consumers often face is that freshly purchased kiwifruit are frequently overly hard and sour. Consequently, many consumers leave the fruits out for several days to ripen, and in many cases leave them out for too long, causing them to go bad. Although domestically grown kiwifruit are comparatively cheap, they often have relatively poor flavor at the time of purchase, which leaves consumers with a poor impression. According to our sources, the concept of “ready-to-eat” kiwifruit has been proposed multiple times in recent years, although it has not been realized or put to the test until now owing to technological and financial limitations.

Thus, the suboptimal flavor and texture of domestically grown kiwifruit has been a significant pain point for several years in spite of their relatively low price. In contrast, imported kiwifruit such as those from New Zealand’s Zespri, despite being more expensive, have dominated the market owing to their superior flavor. As fresh food has become more readily available and consumers have become less willing to wait for their purchased fruits to ripen at home, data and customer surveys have revealed that ready-to-eat kiwifruit have emerged as a new high-demand item, as demonstrated by their rapid popularity at Hema stores. Consumer feedback indicates that Cui Xiang kiwifruit possess adequate sweetness and, although they are quite firm, they are still completely ripe, presenting a far superior eating experience compared to kiwifruit that have been left out to soften for several days.

The Cui Xiang brand of kiwifruit was jointly developed by Alibaba’s Digital Agriculture division and Shaanxi kiwifruit expert Li Xiaoyang, who established new digitized standards for the planting, production, storage and transport of these fruits. Li has been working to make the vision of “ready-to-eat” kiwifruit a reality for the past 11 years and as such has accumulated a wealth of data. For example, he has learned that kiwifruit vines require 1,100 hours of sunlight per year, in addition to defining rigorous standards with respect to harvest time, sweetness levels, firmness and dry matter content. Standards have also been set with regard to transport; for example, fruits must reach refrigeration units within six hours of picking. Li explained that creating kiwifruit that consumers can eat immediately upon purchase has always been his goal and that although there are still great disparities between domestically grown and imported fruit, he believes that anything that can be achieved abroad can also be accomplished in China.

Image: Pixabay

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


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