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Wednesday 14th September 2016, 02:05 London

Asia Fruit Logistica: exhibitor spotlights

A roundup of key news and views from some of the 665 companies exhibiting at this year’s trade show in Hong Kong

Asia Fruit Logistica: exhibitor spotlights

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With some 665 companies from 37 different countries showcasing their wares, Asia Fruit Logistica 2016 featured its largest-ever number of exhibitors and widest range of products and services during the three-day trade show in Hong Kong from 7-9 September.

Here’s a roundup of some of the key news and views from the show-floor.

Fruta Cloud (China)

China’s emerging B2B e-commerce platform Fruta Cloud saw Asia Fruit Logistica as a premium opportunity to market its new service and brand. Operations manager Patty Li said that B2B e-commerce was quite unique to China, and exporters from all over the world were very intrigued by its platform. “In other countries, sales channels can be quite straight forward and simple. So foreign companies are very interested in our B2B online service. We are also very happy to see that exporters from countries like Chile now see great importance in marketing. Some of our clients we saw at the show have already decided to invest in marketing with us next year.”

Body & Brains (Netherlands)

Asia Fruit Logistica saw the international launch of Body & Brains, a new branding concept for soft fruit and stonefruit that focuses on the healthiness and convenience of consuming fresh berries. The project has been developed by Dutch firm Growers Packers Direct, and according to sales manager Robbert Leisnik, is already sparking some serious interest from a range of customers.

Interfel (France)

Daniel Soares of interprofessional organisation Interfel revealed Vietnam was poised to grant market access to French kiwifruit very soon, offering a further boost to the country’s exporters. He also confirmed that Asia Fruit Logistica was the place to be in Asia for French fresh produce exporters looking to maintain and build contacts while presenting their products and services – especially those debutants who brought French potatoes and heirloom vegetables to the show for the first time. “I think it's an amazing fair for us and [we] hope to develop more business here,” he said.

Asociación 3 de Julio (Ecuador)

As Ecuador’s second biggest banana producer association, Asociación 3 de Julio has already carved out a successful niche in China with its highly attractive Niño David brand, launched two years ago, which features a small boy in traditional Chinese dress. The company was created five years ago to start direct exports and today ships around 3m boxes a year to China, the European Union, Russia and Chile. “This our first time at Asia Fruit Logistica and the event had certainly exceeded our expectations,” said manager Marlene Fárez.

La Grama (Peru)

First-time exhibitor La Grama is a Peruvian producer of organic avocados, bananas and ginger. The company already ships to Europe and North America and is now looking to break into Asia. “We are pleased with the level of interest we’ve received at the fair, particularly for our avocados and ginger,” said the company's Gustavo Montoya.

Aksun (Turkey)

Akin Söyleyen, partner at Turkish fresh produce exporter Aksun, said he believed the Asian market holds huge potential for his country’s black figs. Having sent its first consignment six years ago, the group is now reportedly selling around 3,000 cartons per day in its export season, buoyed by recent television advertising in partnership with a major Chinese retailer. “Figs are definitely number one for us at the moment in Asia,” Söyleyen added.

Index Fresh (US)

Avocado grower-exporter Index Fresh has seen the Chinese market grow substantially since it first started exhibiting at Asia Fruit Logistica in 2013. “The Asian market is growing exponentially, particularly on the Chinese mainland,” noted export manager Marc Buhl. According to Buhl, avocado demand is driven by health attributes with most fruit consumed in smoothies or even eaten raw. Mexico is the sole source of supply to China from North America at the moment but Buhl said the California industry remains hopeful that its fruit will gain market access within the next year or two.

Frutas Esther (Spain)

Frutas Esther’s first stonefruit shipment to China has been a steep learning curve according to the company’s Asia-Pacific representative Lam Mai Heungpok. The airflown consignment of nectarines and paraguayos was held up in quarantine, delaying the shipment by ten days. The company is now preparing to send its second shipment, which it expects will go significantly smoother. “From next year we plan to ship from the beginning of the season and think we could do a good volume,” said Heungpok.

Qifeng (China)

Chinese kiwifruit grower and exporter Qifeng returned to Asia Fruit Logistica this year with its biggest-ever stand. As the company’s export business has grown, the Hong Kong show has become increasingly important. “We have one of the most attractive kiwifruit stands this year. It gives us the opportunity to bring Chinese kiwifruit to the world,” said a company spokesperson. Qifeng reported receiving many enquiries from India, Russia and various European countries.  

BC Cherry Association (Canada)

Typically the latest cherry growing region in the Northern Hemisphere for sweet cherries, British Columbia has a modest but expanding production of high-quality fruit to offer Asian markets. “We’ve been giving out samples of our fruit to attendees along with pamphlets that generically promote Canadian cherries,” said BC Cherry Association spokesperson Erin Carlson. “We have a membership of around a dozen packhouses that make up approximately 80 per cent of the industry’s volume and our message to the Asian trade is that there will be more fruit available every year.”

Royal Co (Japan)

Promoting Kyoto-grown fruit and vegetables, the Japan pavilion housed Japanese chefs cooking up Kyoto vegetable dishes, as well as Japan’s renowned high-quality Muscat Shine grapes and large-sized apples and peaches. For the second year running, Kyoto was holding a promotion at Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong during the week of Asia Fruit Logistica, where select chefs were cooking with Kyoto vegetables to promote the produce.

Safefruit (Vietnam)

Co-exhibiting with Vietnamese exporter MTAS Fresh, Safefruit showcased its newest product, a ‘ready-to-drink’ fresh coconut conveniently packaged with a straw so it can be consumed right away. Already exporting the product to Dubai and Moscow, Safefruit is looking to expand its export markets, with potential customers in the US and Korea. 

Sensitech (US)

A leading manufacturer of in-transit temperature monitoring solutions, Sensitech had two of its latest products on display at Asia Fruit Logistica 2016. The Temp-tale Geo is a single-use instrument that provides shippers with not only temperature data but also information on just where the shipment is along the supply chain. “This is accomplished via a dedicated website,” said sales representative Noel Shang. “We only launched the product last July but there is a new generation model scheduled for release early next year.” Also available now from Sensitech is the Temp-tale Direct with a USB that plugs into the receiver’s personal computer generating a PDF of the temperature history of a shipment

 Australia Fresh (Australia)

Celebrating Australia’s access to China for its fresh nectarines, Horticulture Innovation Australia CEO John Lloyd, Summerfruit Australia CEO John Moore and Summerfruit Export Development Alliance deputy chairMichael Trautwein were on hand at the Australia Fresh Pavilion at Asia Fruit Logistica for the official launch. Australian nectarine exporters are vying for a slice of China’s market ahead of the new season, expected to kick off in late October.

Ota Market (Japan)

First time exhibitor Ota Market, the wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Tokyo, Japan, took a booth at Asia Fruit Logistica to feature produce and innovative packaging designs from premium retailer Ginza Sembikiya, which co-exhibited under the Ota Market banner with several other Tokyo-based companies.

JSP (Singapore)

Upgrading to a bigger booth this year, Singapore company Jia Shing Plastic (JSP) was showcasing its range of packaging products, from Sun World grape bags to compostable products. With customers across Chile, South Africa, North America and Asia, director Jeremy Tan said he was seeing a global trend towards environmentally friendly packaging.

Agro Fruit Mandiri (Indonesia)

First-time exhibitor Agro Fruit Mandiri took advantage of the growing trend in health products in Asia to showcase its range of fresh and value-added red dragon fruit products, including dragon fruit enzyme and dragon fruit powder that are high in antioxidants, fibre and minerals. Exhibiting alongside Malaysian exporter TRL, the booth featured a colourful display of tropical fruit exported across South East Asia and North America.

Veos (Germany)

Saxony-based Veos was one of several German apple exporters that made their debut at this year’s event, a sign that confidence in the potential opening of the Chinese market in particular to German fruit is increasing. Veos sales representative Elena Domnick commented: “Asia has a lot of potential and we are hoping that access to China will be possible in the coming years.”

From (Italy)

Having established a foothold for Italian apples in India, mainly for Gala and Red Delicious, export marketing association From is targeting a further increase in its sales to the market, aiming to ship to around 10,000 tonnes. “This season we’re ready to double our exports to the country,” commented export manager Nicola Zanotelli.

Sutherland Produce (Canada)

British Columbia-based Sutherland Produce was busy touting the quality and value of the province’s fresh blueberries, cherries and Ambrosia apples to Asia Fruit Logistica attendees. “We’re seeing lots of interest for both blueberries and cherries here,” said export director Rick Chong. “And there is huge demand for Ambrosias; we could sell five times the supply.” Accordingly, Chong expects his company’s exports for the Canadian-origin apple to double in 2017 as Ambrosia production increases with new acreage maturing. “Blueberries are another category that is really going to take off in the Chinese market. We had some wet conditions this summer that limited exports but I expect volume to be up ten-fold next season to China.”

Colamark (China)

Guangzhou-based Colamark Labeling Equipment exhibited for the first time at Asia Fruit Logistica after its high-tech labelling lines attracted key clients from the agriculture industry. Colamark’s Su Hewei said the company got a sense of the industry’s evolving demand for labelling technology at the event. Colamark already exports to South East Asia and North America, and Su reported strong interest in its labelling machines from visitors from South America and Egypt during the three-day expo.

Peruvian blueberries (Peru)

Peruvian blueberry exporters are hopeful that the official signing of the import protocol could take place during the visit of president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to China this week.

Mersel Foods (India)

Indian exporter Mersel Foods continues to see opportunities grow for its range of table grape offerings in Russia. With Russia continuing to impose a blockade of fruit imports from Turkey and the EU, Mersel director Samir Singh said there has been strong interest in Indian-grown Thompson and Flame seedless varieties. Mersel also has well-established programmes into Germany, Holland and a number of Baltic countries and is looking to export 200 containers of table grapes this season after a big monsoon season.

BFV (Belgium)

Belgium continues to lead the charge as far as the development of a significant market for European pears in Asia is concerned. Over the past six years since the country gained access for its pear exports to China, leading fruit producer BFV has been heavily involved in growing sales to the region. In the past year alone, said the company’s commercial director Marc Evrard, volumes of Belgian Conference pears to Asia have risen 35 per cent to around 8,000 tonnes. “We’re now selling to about 15 retailers in around 35 different cities in China,” he confirmed.

Noon Orchards (Pakistan)

Four Pakistani exporters showcased their wares under a stand supported by USAID as part of the US-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development. Noon Orchards was one of the companies on display, with the show providing an opportunity to share information about its range of easy peeler mandarins, which are being shipped to Russia, the Middle East and South East Asia this season.

Capogreco Farms (Australia)

Western Australian-based grower-packer-exporter Capogreco Farms is looking to tap into the Japanese melon market after the Australian industry won market access earlier this year. The company sees a particularly strong opening for its rockmelons, and received some strong interest from buyers at the show. Having co-exhibited with other companies in the past, Capogreco Farms took its own stand at the Australian pavilion for the first time.

Mr Apple (New Zealand)

Mr Apple’s stand was again a hub of activity over the three-day event. By midday on Friday the New Zealand apple grower-packer-marketer had given away all of its souvenirs, which this year included everything from apple corers to rugby balls. A number of visitors also took the opportunity to have their photo taken in Mr Apple’s onsite orchard.

Kay Bee Exports (India)

India’s Kay Bee Exports said it has received positive feedback from its recently launched pomegranate trial programme in Spain’s biggest supermarket Mercadona. The company also hopes to ship Alfonso and Kesar mangoes to Australia and South Korea this season.

Mexico Market (Mexico)

Mexico Market claims to be the only company in the Americas producing watermelon radish. The radish, whose name derives from its attractive light pink colouring, is highly prized in Japan where a 500g piece can sell for up to US$36. The supplier is now looking to establish itself in other markets in Asia and Europe.

Camposol (Peru)

Camposol has been ramping up its blueberry production in recent seasons, tripling its output to 14,000 tonnes in the past year alone. However, chief operating officer José Antonio Gómez said the company’s focus will switch to other crops from next year. “We’ll be investing in new citrus production, particularly mandarins, for the US market,” he said. The company is set to announce a joint avocado venture in Colombia that will enable it to extend its supply window. Camposol accounted for around a fifth of the 200 containers of Peruvian avocados shipped to China this year and Gómez believes that Peru could double its export volume in 2017.

Chilean Cherry Committee (Chile)

‘Chilean cherries – worth every bite’ will be the slogan of Chile’s new consumer campaign in China, which will launch in November and run through to early February. Featuring outdoor and digital media channels and point-of-sale activities in hypermarket, supermarkets and specialist stores in selected tier-1 and tier-2 cities, the campaign aims to establish Chilean cherries as the standard for quality.

Fruit Growers Tasmania (Australia)

The recently formed Tasmanian Fruit & Vegetable Export Facilitation Group highlighted its objectives at the Fruit Growers Tasmania stand. Funded by federal and state government, along with industry members, the group’s said its principal objective is to “coordinate and work with the Tasmanian fruit and vegetable industry to explore and facilitate the development of export opportunities”. With the Tasmanian government aiming to lift the value of the state’s agricultural sector to A$10bn by 2050, the group’s export facilitator, Ian Locke, said suppliers must look beyond the domestic market in order to boost profit margins.

Capach (Mexico)

Mexico’s Capach has spotted a niche in the Asian market for its Sanita Gold-branded pineapples. The company’s Luis Palma claims the irregular quality of pineapples from the Philippines and other regional producers is fuelling demand for fruit from further afield. “Asia Fruit Logistica is a great opportunity and opens a lot of doors, but you have to have a good product,” he said.

Agro Latina (Peru)

Agro Latina’s Sweet Panda brand is one of the best-known Peruvian grape labels in the Chinese market and the company is now targeting new opportunities in the region. “We’re well-established in China and are now looking to do more in South Korea, Vietnam and India,” said Patricio Cuba.  

Tokita Seed (Japan)

Japanese seed company Tokita expanded its range of vegetables on display during its seventh year exhibiting at Asia Fruit Logistica. Showcasing its colourful range of snacking tomatoes, this year Tokita also added displays of mini Japanese pumpkins, yellow watermelon and a range of Japanese sweet peppers.

Frutaria (Spain)

Family-owned Frutaria prefers to keep a low profile in spite of being one of Spain’s biggest fruit producers with an annual output of 110,000 tonnes a year. The company carried out its first citrus shipments to China last season and is due to send its first consignment of stonefruit this week. Carlos Echeveste said Spanish produce is starting to gain a good reputation in China. “Customers taste our fruit and they like it, plus it offers a good price-quality ratio,” he said.

North Carolina Muscadine Grape Association (US)

Native to the Southeastern US, Muscadines are large, thick-skinned grapes that are both black and bronze in colour. Because of their large size, Muscadines are harvested as individual berries rather than in clusters. According to the North Carolina Muscadine Association, Muscadines contain as much as six times the antioxidants levels of blueberries. “I noticed that Asians were coming to North Carolina farms to pick Muscadines,” said grower Bob Hinnant.  “So I began shipping fruit to major cities with large Asian populations and the business has really grown. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture suggested I display them at Asia Fruit Logistica and the response has been very strong so far.”

Select Harvests (Australia)

Leading Australian almond supplier Select Harvests is preparing to open two new facilities at its Carina West site within the next six months. The new plants will assist the listed company with its processing and packing operations. Some A$25m has been invested in developing the new sites.

This year's exhibition created a considerable buzz on social media. Check out our compilation of the some of the highlights from Twitter and Instagram.

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