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Spring has Arrived in China, and with it Stone Fruit from Chile

March 01, 2019
Andrew D

This March sees the start of a new promotional campaign for Chilean stone fruits in China, organized on behalf of the Chilean Stone Fruit Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX), with the support of ProChile Shanghai. This is the second year that Chilean stone fruits have been promoted in China and this year’s larger campaign aims to build on the success of last year’s.

The “Chilean Stone Fruits Month” launch ceremony was held in Shanghai on the morning of March 1 at the 606 Huanghua Road outlet of QuickMart, the grocery store operated by leading food delivery platform Ele.me. The event began with speeches by Juan Jose Wood, Trade Commissioner of Chile in Shanghai for ProChile and Charif Christian Carvajal, Director of Marketing for Europe and Asia at ASOEX, who introduced Chilean stone fruit to invited guests from the media. The remarks were followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and interviews with members of the media. Then, for the duration of the afternoon, fruit tastings allowed visitors to the store to enjoy the flavor of Chilean nectarines and plums.

According to Mr. Carvajal, “the main Chilean stone fruits exported to China are nectarines and plums; however, there are many different varieties, each with its own unique flavor: that’s why we are actively promoting stone fruit from Chile in China.” Consumers at the event had the opportunity to sample an array of varieties including Chilean sugar plum, Dapple Delight, Friar Black and Fortune varieties of plum and the Majestic, Bright Pearl and Arctic Snow varieties of nectarine.

This launch event is being followed by offline promotions in QuickMart stores, with more fruit tastings on weekends, and online promotions targeting consumers within 3 km of the stores, comprising advertising banners, push messages, SMS messages, and promotional leaflets delivered with food orders, by leveraging the Ele.me app and website.

Chilean stone fruits are typically available from the end of December to late March or early April and are proving increasingly popular in China, with 41,319 tons of plums and 16,654 tons of nectarines imported into China last season. In fact, approximately 49% of fresh nectarines and 74% of fresh plums imported into China in the 2016–17 season originated from Chile. In particular, estimates for this season indicate that there will be an increase in the volume of Chilean sugar plums imported into China—owing to the popularity of this product with Chinese consumers.

This season's Chilean Stone Fruit Month campaign will now continue throughout March and into early April with online and in-store activities promoting Chilean nectarines to consumers across China, as well as advertisements in both general media and produce industry trade media outlets.

The ecommerce part of the campaign will take place in partnership with the Fruit Day app, with a promotional banner on the main page and articles distributed to consumers via the Fruit Day WeChat account to persuade them to try Chilean stone fruit. From March 1, Chilean stone fruit ordered from Fruit Day will arrive in specialized packaging featuring stickers with the campaign slogan of “spring up your life with stone fruit from Chile.” Under this slogan, the current campaign aims to position Chilean nectarines and plums as healthy alternatives that are very low in fat and abundant in vitamins.

A series of in-store promotions at Walmart stores in 11 Chinese cities has already started from February 23 and will continue to April 7. It will promote Chilean nectarines and all varieties of Chilean plums. This promotion will push far into interior China, including lower-profile provincial capitals like Nanning in Guangxi province and third-tier and below cities like Lijiang and Wenshan in Yunnan province.

Due to the fast growth of the sugar plum segment and strong positive feedback from consumers, a second in-store promotion will focus exclusively on sugar plums. This promotion will be carried out in 60 stores in the cities of Shenyang, Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou starting on March 4. The retail partners for the 2019 Chilean sugar plum in-store promotion will include supermarkets and hypermarkets (Auchan, CityShop, G-Super, Hema, Metro, RT-Mart and Sam's Club) and specialist fruit retailers (30+, Xianfeng, Pagoda and Wellfruit).

“ProChile is very proud to see the successful Chilean cherry and blueberry promotions now followed by the Chilean stone fruit promotion,” said Juan José Vidal Wood, Trade Commissioner at the Shanghai office of ProChile. “In 2018, Chile was again the No. 1 fruit exporter to China in terms of value, which was facilitated by the two countries' Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which allows Chilean fruits to enter the China market with zero tariffs.”

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