Attracting 574 companies from 40 different countries, Asia Fruit Logistica 2015 set a new record for exhibitor numbers. Asiafruit interviews a cross-section of the companies that had their products and services on show.
Peruvian Agritrade (Peru)
When the first consignment of Peruvian Hass avocados lands in Shanghai on 20 September, it will represent a major coup for grower Mission Produce and the Avocado Packing Co, a joint venture between Mission and the Gonzalez Group said to be the world’s biggest avocado packhouse. Michael Horney of Peruvian Agritrade, which handles the logistics for companies within the Gonzalez Group, says the group’s two avocado producers, Arato and Beggie, have just concluded their first successful avocado export season and a promotional campaign is being planned for the Chinese market next year.
Malaysia’s Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) housed seven exhibitors under its banner this year, six of which were exporters, including Rompine, the Malaysian Pineapple Board and Top Fruits. Showcasing its range of Malaysian fruits, the country focused on its durian and pineapple products this year, including fresh, frozen and fruit popsicles.
Rijk Zwaan (The Netherlands)
Dutch seed specialist Rijk Zwaan made the Asian launch of its Sweet Palermo pepper in Hong Kong, where the company promoted its unique sweetness and flavour. “We are looking for growers to produce it in Asia, such as in Malaysia, China and Thailand,” said marketing and business development manager Jan Doldersum. “We are also promoting our crunchy cooking lettuce. Here they eat lettuce in soups and other hot dishes, so it needs to retain its crunchiness, and our new Crunchy Cos does this well.”
Sangro Agro Processing (India)
A perennial visitor to Asia Fruit Logistica, Sangro Agro Processing exhibited at the trade show for the first time and director Rajaram Sangle said the company was extremely satisfied with the return for its investment. Sangle said there was particularly strong interest in its range of chemical-free raisins, a category the company has diversified into over recent seasons with a particular eye on the Middle East and Asian markets.
Adapting to China’s import protocol has been a steep learning curve for Mexico’s berry exporters. However, Mario Andrade of producer association Aneberries said many of the initial challenges have now been ironed out and inspection and customs clearance times have been cut dramatically. Limited promotions including an online consumer campaign on WeChat are already in place but Andrade says a bigger marketing push is being planned for next year.
Groupe Pomanjou (France)
Asia forms a major part of the French apple exporter’s future strategy, according to CEO Marc Rauffet, who wants to see the company differentiate itself in terms of the uniqueness of the varieties it offers to the market. “Anyone can come to Asia and sell Royal Gala,” he said. “The key is to differentiate yourself with your own varieties, such as the exclusively organic Juliet and Honeycrunch. It is not the 1bn in China that interest us, it is the 50m who want and can afford a traceable, transparent and environmentally-friendly apple.
BC Blueberry Council (Canada)
With rapidly expanding production of blueberries in British Columbia, BC Blueberry Council was busily promoting its product to Asia Fruit Logistica attendees. The industry is particularly excited over the prospects of market access for its fruit to both China and South Korea. “We now have four farms registered with China for trial shipments,” said executive director Debbie Etsell. “We’re hoping to get some product into that market this season to lay the foundation for next year.” Etsell was also expecting to soon hear from South Korean agricultural authorities regarding access to that market.
Singapore-listed company Sunmoon had plenty of product lines and extensions on show at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica, including its newest juice products made from coconuts, lychees, mangosteen and more, which were launched at 7-Eleven stores in Singapore in July. In addition to its fresh produce range, Sunmoon promoted its jackfruit ‘chips’ as well as its fruit packs, including a peach and chia seed range, which cater to busy but health-conscious workers looking for ‘on-the-go’ healthy snacks.
USA Food & Produce (US)
A first-time exhibitor at Asia Fruit Logistica, USA Foods & Produce is owned and operated by a third generation farming family that traces its roots to India. “We farm our own table grapes in the San Joaquin Valley as well as procuring fruit from growers in the area for exporting,” said president Benny Michael. “Along with grapes, we also ship Washington apples and California nuts to clients in India, Dubai, Egypt, South East Asia, Japan and South Korea.” Michael noted that his firm also sources from Spain and Egypt to supply clients in the Middle East. The four year-old company expects to exhibit at Asia Fruit Logistica again in 2016.
All Lemon (Argentina)
Argentina shipped around 160,000 tonnes of lemons during the recently concluded 2015 campaign – well below the 240,000 tonnes exported during a normal year as the effects of the 2013 freeze were still being felt in groves. Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines have registered the biggest growth in recent years.
Qifeng Fruit (China)
Kiwifruit export plays an important part in Chinese company Qifeng’s future expansion plans, and Asia Fruit Logistica provided a perfect platform for the company. Qifeng enjoyed countless visits from South East Asian and European countries this year, said e-commerce business manager Nemo Li. Qifeng recently began exporting kiwifruit to Taiwan, and Li said their stand attracted many Taiwanese buyers who wanted to work with Qifeng as a result.
Having recently unveiled its plans to expand into Asia, Spain’s SanLucar was in Hong Kong to launch the brand and its concept and provide further details of its strategy in the region. According to new markets director Omar El Naggar, China, Saudi Arabia and Singapore are the three key markets being targeted, with mandarins from South Africa and Spain, Ecuadorean bananas and Turkish cherries among the first wave of products being introduced.
Tropical fruit and banana supplier BanaBay has secured its first contract in Dubai in the company’s first deal involving banana supply from its new Philippines plantations. International Food Network (IFN), a socioeconomic initiative and marketing organisation in Dubai, will receive one container of conventional bananas per week in an initial trial supply period, which will run from mid-August to the end of this year. “I am very pleased to be working with a likeminded organisation such as IFN and it demonstrates how the BanaBay brand is making strong progress in the Middle Eastern market,” said BanaBay business development manager Harley Williams. The company also announced it has a major new Korean customer, Daemyung Corp, following meetings held at last year’s show.
Taiwan Golden Sweet Potato (Taiwan)
With its sweet potato soft-serve drawing a crowd to its stand, Taiwan-based grower-exporter Taiwan Golden Sweet Potato made an impressive debut at Asia Fruit Logistica with its range of fresh and processed sweet potato products. Project manager Ignacio Chang said the sweet potato products on show had been developed from sweet potato that had been selected and bred specifically to make it sweet, and also to lower its fiber to make the texture smoother.
Kyoto City Central Wholesale Market (Japan)
Several companies were once again exhibiting at Asia Fruit Logistica under Japan’s Kyoto wholesale market stand, where Japanese chefs were on hand to create tasty treats with vegetables grown in the city of Kyoto. For Royal Co, which was also showcasing its range of premium fruits, Asia Fruit Logistica coincided with the launch of its Kyoto vegetable promotion in Hong Kong. Royal’s Akinari Iida said the company was supplying several Japanese restaurants across Hong Kong with its produce for the first time on 2-8 September.
Vegetable grower-distributor-exporter Shenzhen Maoxiong was looking to meet both new exporters and importers at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica. Maoxiong’s stand space has been expanding over the past four years, and this year it almost doubled in size, showcasing a large range of vegetable products, from mushroom varieties to choy sum and kale, as well as the company’s new vegetable processing facility in Shenzhen. Maoxiong’s Stanley Yao said Asia Fruit Logistica had helped the company to gain potential clients from India, Taiwan, Japan and Europe.
Premier Fruit Exports (South Africa)
Premier Fruit Exports formed part of a large South African presence at this year’s show, the majority of which was housed under a national pavilion coordinated by the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum. Company director Stephen Beghin said the event provided a strong networking platform in Asia, where the company is looking to increase its grapefruit exports.
T&G (New Zealand)
Global grower-distributor-exporter T&G, which is headquartered in New Zealand, announced the rebrand of international subsidiary Delica to T&G Global at Asia Fruit Logistica. Delica has been part of T&G since 2007 with a strong presence in international markets, and T&G executive GM international Sarah McCormack said that with the recent rebrand of other subsidiaries within T&G, the time was right to also align Delica under the T&G brand. “The Delica team has worked hard over the years to build a solid international produce trading business and, with the support of T&G, our global sales revenue has quadrupled in the past few years,” said McCormack. “This rebrand to T&G Global is the next step in our strategic direction and will ultimately provide a stronger platform for our customers.” Darren Drury, T&G executive general manager for pipfruit, pointed out that it would be “the same people, same service and same culture” at the business, but now operating under the T&G brand through a more integrated model. “Rebranding from Delica to T&G ticks all the boxes on our T&G strategic pillars, including Simplify It, Strengthen Relationships and Think Global,” he said. The T&G Global brand is due to be rolled out across the various offices by the end of the year.
Kalya Exports (India)
An established supplier of table grapes into the European market, Indian exhibitor Kalya Exports is also bidding to develop a foothold for the offering in China. Like many Indian grape suppliers, the company is hoping for a change in production fortunes this season, after weather events reduced the size of its crop last season.
Mediterranean Exporter Unions (Turkey)
In the near future, Turkey will be a leading exporter to Asia, according to Ali Kavak, chairman of the Mediterranean Exporter Unions. “We will be an important supplier,” he said, “and we are making big efforts to increase exports to countries like China. The draft protocol is agreed between China and Turkey, we are now waiting for the final signatures. We see the biggest potential for citrus, cherries, figs, pomegranates and grapes.”
Regular Asia Fruit Logistica exhibitor Sevenfields gave a glowing review of this year’s event. “This is our sixth year here and by far our busiest,” explained Brett Jackson, Sevenfield’s head of produce marketing. “The quality of visitors visiting our stand has also been amazing; we’ve met with a large number of leading buyers from across the industry.”