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Maura Maxwell



Competition forcing Chile to up its game

Investment and innovation key to capitalising on growing global demand for fresh fruit, says a new Rabobank report

Competition forcing Chile to up its game

The report's author, Cindy Van Rijswick

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Chilean fruit exporters must raise their game if they are to exploit new opportunities in the global market according to a new report from Rabobank on the perspectives for Chilean fruit exports in the coming years.

The report’s author, Cindy Van Rijswick, said that as the world’s second-largest net exporter of fresh fruit and the number one Southern Hemisphere fruit exporter, Chile is well positioned as a supplier and has built a solid reputation based on quality and professionalism.

But with competition from other suppliers intensifying, more investment and innovation is needed particularly in new varieties, irrigation and branding.

Chilean producers must also find new strategies to raise efficiency, become more sustainable and become more internationalised by building long-term relationships with retailers and distributors.

At 6 per cent annual growth since 2010, the global fresh fruit trade is outpacing overall global trade. This is being fuelled by the emergence of new import markets alongside traditional large markets like the US and Europe.

Increasingly, these markets do not only require more fruit; they also need something different, driven by changing consumer preferences and retail dynamics.

“A look at the development of global imports of fresh fruits in both absolute and percentage terms demonstrates a diverse landscape of global fruit-import markets,” the report states. “Most striking is China, already the world’s third-largest fresh-fruit import market, but still rapidly rising, while countries like Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, India, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia have rapidly moved forward as promising import markets.”

Notwithstanding the arrival of these new kids on the block, the US is still the main growth engine in the global fresh fruit market, while the second highest contributor to growth in absolute terms (expressed in US dollars) is the European Union, in spite of its slow growth in percentage terms.

Global fruit consumption expected to grow at around 4 per cent over the coming years, fuelled by rising incomes and population in developing markets and changing consumer tastes in established markets.

Chile is in a strong position to reap the rewards of the expanding market, provided it can capitalise on its reputation for quality and professionalism with the right investments, the report concludes.




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