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Matthew Jones

BY MATTHEW JONES

@mattfruitnet

Wednesday 29th September 2021, 06:08 London

Catering to Asia’s consumers

Day two of Asiafruit Business Forum examines consumer and retail trends

Catering to Asia’s consumers

Gilad Sadan of NAVI Co Global

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Health messaging, e-commerce and sustainable packaging all came under the spotlight on day two of Asiafruit Business Forum.

Hosted by Asiafruit Magazine, the Business Forum streamed live today (29 September) as part of Asiafruit Congress. Expert speakers offered insights on a range of topics related to the theme ‘Retail and Consumers’.

The session began with a presentation from Alyson Dias, vice president of advertising and digital media at the California Table Grape Commission.

Dias highlighted how the commission is incorperating health messaging into its promotions, on the back of extensive consumer research. She offered some practical advice to viewers based on this work.

“I believe shoppers will be increasingly motivated by foods that contribute to health; thus it becomes very important to marry each produce item with its season and relevant health benefits,” Dias said. “For instance, grapes can be promoted as beneficial to skin health during the summer and contributing to immune health during the late fall (autumn) and winter.

“Another takeaway is to promote recipes featuring fruits and vegetables aligned with specific diets; like gluten-free and dairy-free.

“Finally, use a variety of mediums and influencers to reach the vast primary shopper audience. Health messaging can take a lot more space, so whether that’s by paper or by voice, it’s important to use mediums that can accommodate the needed space.”

Connecting through e-commerce

The session then examined how e-commerce is helping to form closer connections between producers and end consumers.

Xin Yi Lim, executive director of sustainability and agricultural impact at Pinduoduo – the developer of a unique mobile-only e-commerce platform – discussed how her company is helping facilitate this connection to increase value at both ends.

Using the example of garlic sales in China, Xin ran a comparison between Pinduoduo’s e-commerce model to that of a traditional distribution chain.

“With the traditional chain, the farmer might be selling the garlic for Rmb2 (per kg) at the farm-grate. This is the price given to them by whoever the offtaker is but that offtaker is not the final destination … it goes through a number of distributors before it finally reaches the retail outlet where somebody is finally buying that kg of garlic for Rmb16. 

“The interim transfer of this product has led to an eight-times price mark-up. In reality, you don’t need to move this product so many times throughout the distribution chain if you already have a good sense of who the customers are, which is exactly what e-commerce allows us to do…It leads to a win-win for both farmers and consumers.”

Waste not

Later in the session, experienced fresh produce marketer and merchandiser John Baker of Produce Marketing Australia delivered a case study on retail training work he conducted in Vietnam, while Pauline Kerbiriou and Young Han of Enza Zaden discussed how their company is working to drive pumpkin consumption in Asia through the development of superior tasting varieties.

The programme rounded out with a presentation from Gilad Sadan of NAVI Co Global, who shared his take on the future of sustainable packaging.

With food waste reduction a topical issue in markets around the world, Sadan would like to see the fresh produce industry lean into these discussions by educating end-consumers on the value packaging can provide.

“One of the main messages for the education of consumers is that packaging is part of the solution, as opposed to part of the problem,” he explained. “It can help increase consumption, it can help increase shelf life, it can help utilise a greater degree of the crop and therefore help reduce food waste quite substantially.”

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