The Singapore-based firm, which owns major fruit trading and plantation operations in China, recently exported what are reported to be the first-ever shipments of Chinese cherries to South Korea.
Speaking exclusively to Asiafruit Magazine, SunMoon Food's CEO Wee Liang Pin said the historic shipments followed Korea's granting of access to Chinese cherries last year. "We are one of only two companies in China that are permitted to supply cherries to South Korea and our target is to export around 200 tonnes this year," he said. "Our first shipments are under way by air and we will be following up with sea shipments in the coming weeks."
Chinese Fuji apples remain the primary export product for SunMoon Food, and the firm has made its debut shipments of this product to Russia in 2008.
The company has struggled to source sufficient volumes of Chinese apples this season amid a short crop, high purchasing prices and strong competition for product.
Nevertheless, it has been able to resume exports in earnest after supplies almost dried up in 2006/07 due to the firm's financial problems. "Our sales volumes on the domestic market in China have also increased tremendously," Mr Wee noted.
Meanwhile, SunMoon Food is moving into retail with the launch of a new chain of lifestyle concept stores under the SunMoon Fresh banner. "The stores will target the health-conscious consumer with an appetite for premium quality food and produce," said Mr Wee. "Our first outlet will open in Singapore in July and we’re aiming for six to 10 stores in the next 12 months. We also plan to open stores under franchise in markets like the Middle East, China and Indonesia."
The franchisee of the pre-existing few SunMoon retail stores in Singapore has also been invited to adopt the new fascia.