Chilean Stone Fruit, a New Rising Star in China

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As the largest exporter of fresh fruit in the southern hemisphere and with fresh fruit exports totaling 5.2 billion USD (2.7 million tons) in 2018, Chile is a major player in the global fresh produce sector. More than 30 different species of fruit are grown in Chile and shipped to over 1,700 fruit importers and distributors in more than 100 countries.

Stone fruits from Chile are typically available from the end of December to late March or early April. As Mr. Carvajal explained, China represents a large market for Chilean stone fruit, with approximately 74% of fresh plums (40,620 tons) and 49% of fresh nectarines (8,780 tons) imported into China in the 2016–17 season originating from Chile.

Plums accounted for 4.3% (120,685 tons) of fruit exports from Chile in the 2017–18 season, and Asia was the main destination region (43,695 tons, 36%), of which China represented the main market (41,319 tons, 95%). The main varieties of plums exported to China are D’Agen (15.5%), Angeleno (15.2%), sugar plums (11.3%), and Crimson Fall (8.1%). In particular, the export volume of sugar plums, a unique variety with high sweetness that is typically available from the end of January to early March, to China is expected to show a several-fold increase this season, with approximately 1,500 containers already dispatched as of last week. This large increase originates from the popularity of Chilean sugar plums with Chinese consumers, who are already familiar with this product as it is the same variety as that grown counter-seasonally in Xinjiang, and further year-on-year volume increases are expected.

Meanwhile, nectarines accounted for 2.4% (66,634 tons) of Chile’s fruit exports in 2017–18, with Asia (20,575 tons, 31%) and China (16,654 tons, 81%) being the main destination region and destination market within Asia, respectively. The main varieties of nectarines exported to China are the white-fleshed Bright Pearl (12.7%), Giant Pearl (11.5%), Arctic Snow (11.5%), and Magique (10.9%), and the yellow-fleshed Venus (6.3%).

In addition to exporting to the Chinese market, the Chilean produce sector is also proactively engaged in promoting and increasing the consumption of Chilean fruit in China. This year, the Chilean Stone Fruit Committee of ASOEX has implemented a promotional campaign under the slogan “spring up your life with stone fruit from Chile”. This campaign will take place from February to April and aims to position Chilean stone fruit as a healthy alternative after Chinese New Year, via point-of-sale activities with leading retailers, advertising in specialized trade media, promotions on major e-commerce platforms, and workshops at both the trade and retail levels across China.