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South African Table Grape Consumption Poised for Growth in China

April 01, 2021

From one of the world’s most beautiful, diverse and naturally abundant countries also originate some of the world’s tastiest grapes. On April 1, South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) celebrated the launch of its inaugural promotional campaign for table grapes in China at the Jiangnonghui fruit wholesale market. This event furthermore symbolically marked the official beginning of the 2021 South African table grape season in China, which will bring to the Chinese market the premium-quality, highly demanded grape varieties grown by South Africa’s export-oriented master horticulturalists. Traders and consumers in China will benefit from SATI’s “China Specification,” which was exclusively developed to ensure that the best possible South African table grapes are provided to this highly discerning market.

SATI partnered with leading Chinese fresh fruit importer and distributor Goodfarmer to hold the celebration, which took place both on a main stage and with ancillary activities throughout the market. Freshly imported shipments of South African Crimson Seedless, Sweet Globe, Sweet Sapphire and Sweet Joy table grapes from importers Rui Ocean Co. Ltd. and Berda Fruit Co. Ltd. were featured as part of the celebration.

A highlight of the event was the Lion Awakening Ceremony, which represented the ties between South African table grapes and the Chinese fruit industry through the imagery of the lion, which both constitutes an important cultural icon in China and symbolizes South Africa’s world-renowned wildlife resources.

South Africa is already a leading global exporter of fresh fruit – but historically Europe has been the main destination for its fruit exports. The promotional campaign being launched by SATI this year thus reflects the growing importance of the China market.

“SATI is proud and excited to launch its first ever South African Table Grapes market development campaign in China,” said Willem Bestbier, CEO of SATI. “This campaign brings together specially selected growers and exporters from our beautiful and diverse country, South Africa, and renowned importers, wholesale markets, the trade and retail in China. The aim is to showcase South African table grapes that are truly worthy of the campaign slogan ‘Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit.’”

“South Africa is a beautiful country with a unique geography and climate well suited to cultivating premium-quality fruits, of which its fresh, sweet, juicy and crisp table grapes are among the best,” said Eric Zheng, general manager of Shanghai Goodfarmer Apple Co. Ltd. “We at Goodfarmer are committed to providing consumers with healthy, delicious fruit and vegetable products through our network of distribution centers and wholesale market sales centers covering 26 provincial capitals across China. We look forward to working with SATI and our other partners to give more consumers in China access to fresh, delicious and healthy South African grapes.

More than 90% of South Africa’s table grape production is seedless, and the diverse growing conditions make it possible to cultivate a broad range of mostly new-generation table grape varieties. SATI has developed a range of initiatives and marketing assets to support its new China campaign, which will continue over coming seasons in the form of educational events, trade outreach, retail promotions and more. These include a Chinese-language campaign logo, a dedicated website and newsletter, and Chinese-language promotional materials. The campaign is being delivered in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, which represents the key table grape growing region in South Africa. It also enjoys the support of the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum, a South African exporters organization.

SATI representatives have been visiting China often in recent years to listen and learn from both traders and consumers to grow a product that suits the market requirements.

“The objective is continuous improvement towards a quality, safe and healthy product exhibiting excellent eating quality – juicy, sweet and crunchy table grapes for Chinese consumers to enjoy,” said Bestbier. “This will be achieved in a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership and by our commitment to the Chinese market. We wish everybody a successful campaign, enjoy our table grapes and we warmly invite you to engage with us on this exciting journey.”

More information regarding the campaign can be found on the SATI website.

Images: SATI

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