This week, the first tastings of Belgian Conference pears were held in São Paolo, Brazil, according to cooperative Belgian Fruit Valley (BFV), as part of a nationwide campaign to educate Brazilian consumers about the qualities of the Conference.
The effort is supported by VLAM, Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board, and its three-year Taste of Europe promotional campaign, which is co-financed by the EU.
The focus of the campaign is on tastings, allowing Brazilian consumers to get accustomed to the variety’s unfamiliar look.
“Brazilians must get used to the Conference pear with its russeting,” BFV stated in a press release. “They usually eat fruit with a shiny peel.”
Since 2014, BFV has taken a lead in efforts to export Belgian Conference pears to Brazil, which it markets under its Truval brand.
“Thanks to positive cooperation between all parties involved and a meeting between the Belgian Minister of Agriculture, Willy Borsus, and the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Blairo Maggi, at the end of January 2017, the dossier was brought forward,” the company stated.
Brazil itself has almost no pear production, importing around 200,000 tonnes a year. However, Belgium currently exports only around €150m of agricultural products to Brazil.
Belgian exporters have stepped up their search for alternative markets for Conference pears ever since the start of the Russian boycott three years ago, with particular progress made on the Asian market.
“Following our experiences in Asia, we are convinced that the Brazilian market can become a potential major customer of the Belgian Truval Conference pear,” the company added.