Asia Fruit Logistica attracted more than 9,200 trade visitors from 70 different countries to Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo Center last week.
The record attendance at Asia’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable trade show was driven by a significant increase in Asian visitor numbers. Total visitor numbers rose by 14 per cent on last year’s event, and 66 per cent of those visitors came from Asia, up from 58 per cent in 2014.
“These results demonstrate the further strong interest and engagement in Asia Fruit Logistica from trade professionals across Asia,” said Gérald Lamusse, managing director of Global Produce Events (GPE).
“They underline Asia Fruit Logistica’s position as the unique pan-Asian event for this business, which also attracts unparalleled attention globally from leading buyers and suppliers.”
China was by far the biggest country represented in terms of attendance, accounting for more than a third of total visitor numbers. Australia and the US ranked second and third respectively, and they were joined by India, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore as the strongest of the 70 visiting nations.
Exhibition expands by a third
Visitors to Asia Fruit Logistica found a show that had expanded by a third in terms of exhibition space. Some 574 companies from 40 different countries showcased their products and services at the event, a growth of 20 per cent compared with 2014.
China was once again the single largest country in terms of exhibitor numbers, with 105 companies exhibiting. Italy cemented its position as second-largest exhibiting country, with 54 companies taking part, a 39 per cent increase on last year. Egypt moved up into third place with 36 exhibitors, the US edged into fourth (31 exhibitors), while Australia and the Netherlands shared fifth spot with 30 exhibitors each.
A number of countries recorded strong exhibitor growth this year, as they sought to make a bigger splash on the trade show floor. Kenya increased its presence by some 900 per cent, while Malaysia and Poland increased their exhibitor numbers by 300 per cent and 200 per cent respectively. Other big movers included Turkey (+150 per cent), Canada (+100 per cent), Israel (+75 per cent), France (+53 per cent) and New Zealand (+45 per cent).
While some of these exhibiting nations were expanding off a low base, a number of them are newer to the Asian markets, and the growth rates served as a strong statement of their market interest and engagement.
Top-quality information and insights
Asia Fruit Logistica also offered visitors a first-rate programme of information and educational activities that spanned the entire supply chain.
It all got under way with the Asiafruit Congress – Asia’s premier fresh produce conference – which took place on 1 September, the day before Asia Fruit Logistica opened its doors.
To mark Asiafruit Magazine’s 20th Anniversary, this year’s Asiafruit Congress kicked off with a panel of industry authorities looking back at the key changes in Asia’s fresh produce trade over the past 20 years, and projecting market demand for the next decade.
The opening panel discussion underlined the remarkable gains made by Asia’s fresh produce trade over the past two decades, driven by the region’s economic rise, China’s emergence as a trade force, trade liberalisation and the rise of modern retailing. But the session also highlighted the huge potential for further growth. Concluding the session, John Piper of Hong Kong-based Food Asia Marketing said the challenge over the next 20 years would not be to grow the market for fresh produce imports in Asia but rather to ensure supply keeps pace with demand. “I have no doubt that the demand will continue to be there, the question is where is the production going to come from and how will it get in?”
Other General Sessions at Asiafruit Congress looked at how fresh produce marketers could better capitalise on consumer interest in health and wellness in Asia, and at growth opportunities in Asia’s more established markets. Breakout Sessions explored Turkey’s position and potential as a supplier to Asia; the Philippines’ rise as a market; the banana market opportunity of China; and managing maximum residue levels amid a shifting regulatory landscape in Asia.
Taking place on 2 September, the 1st Cool Logistics Asia Conference then brought together top-level speakers and decision-makers from over 20 countries to explore perishable supply chains of the future. The conference provided a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with major players in the logistics chain and shape solutions for individual businesses and the chain itself.
Information opportunities continued for Asia Fruit Logistica visitors on the show floor with the Asiafruit Business Forum, a programme of two workshop sessions hosted each day by Asiafruit Magazine. Marketing was the focus for Day One, with sessions on how product re-positioning can drive sales, and on country-of-origin branding. Technology was the theme for Day Two, which looked at software for a smoother supply chain, and at low-cost technology solutions throughout the value chain. The final day focused on production issues, with a Chinese-language session looking at the modernisation of China’s farming sector, and a varietal showcase session to explore what’s on offer from some of the world’s leading breeding programmes.
Asia Fruit Awards: winners announced
The winners of the 2015 Asia Fruit Awards – the annual pan-Asian awards for the fresh produce business – were also unveiled before the Networking Lunch at Asiafruit Congress on 1 September.
Presented by Asiafruit Magazine and Asia Fruit Logistica to celebrate excellence in Asia’s fresh produce business, the Asia Fruit Awards recognise the best companies in the fields of marketing, importing and retailing.
The Marketing Campaign of the Year was presented to ‘Now! In Season’, a multi-industry, multi-market promotion for Australian fruits. The campaign, launched in April by the Victorian State Government in collaboration with Austrade and Horticulture Innovation Australia, takes a whole-of-industry approach to promoting Australian fruits across Asian markets.
Chinese group Golden Wing Mau (GWM) won the Importer of the Year Award for the impressive strides made by its import business, while the Produce Retailer of the Year went to another Chinese company – specialist fresh fruit retail chain Pagoda.
Zhang Xiang, COO, Haisheng Group (China)
“We are very glad to have come to Asiafruit Congress and Asia Fruit Logistica this year. This platform showed us what great suppliers should look like, and where great clients can be found. We met many new industry people here, but getting to know this platform is really the best thing we take away from this trip.”
Vipul Mittal, head of fruit and vegetables, BigBasket (India)
“This year's event has been a great learning and networking opportunity for me. The country-wise format is convenient and lot of new innovations can be seen around the show. Overall it’s been a very satisfying experience.”
Amit Chopade, managing director, Madhav Global Trade (India)
“This is my third time at the show and every year it has gotten bigger and better.”
Mohammad Arjomandi, Pan Fresh (United Arab Emirates)
“We are looking for new markets in Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh. This is our first time at Asia Fruit Logistica. It’s smaller than Berlin, but you can really get business done here.”
Kelly Kirschner, vice-president of global marketing, Sinclair International (US)
“We are very happy to be a part of it. It’s amazing how it keeps expanding in both the number of stands and diversification of business type. It used to be just the big players but now there is a much bigger spread.”
Kevin Otieno, managing director, Chriven Enterprises (Kenya)
“There is real trade here. As well as meeting potential customers, we have been able to learn from other exhibitors and have seen new things in processing and cold storage, and even a DIY testing kit for maximum residue levels, that we will be able to take home. We will most definitely be attending next year.”
Michelle Lu, import manager, COFCO (China)
“We have made many new exporter contacts, and COFCO plans to visit them when the production season starts. There are so many country pavilions. We have a lot of clients from Australia, and we can just go up to the Australia pavilion and see them all in one place. It’s more economical and efficient.”
George Kallitsis, Protofanousi Fruits (Greece)
“I enjoy attending the Asiafruit Congress before exhibiting at Asia Fruit Logistica – it’s a way of connecting with prospective customers and meeting people to exchange information. The expert speakers are engaging and every year we find something new and interesting in terms of the information and contacts.”
Nano Sasaki (Japan), secretary to the CEO, Tokita Seeds (Japan)
“There are many benefits in exhibiting at Asia Fruit Logistica. We get to meet new growers as well as retailers and distributors, and many other potential customers from the entire supply chain, who are looking for products, which itself is the main goal in our participation. But there are many others, and one of the most important benefits for us is that it really puts our presence on the map in Asia’s fresh produce trade.”
Rosita Leung, director of reefer trade, OOCL (Hong Kong)
“Asia Fruit Logistica provides an invaluable platform for us to meet with our guests up close and personal with our experienced reefer professionals and the management team.”
Oliver Davies, chief executive, S&A Produce Asia (UK)
“This is the second year we have exhibited, but we’ve been visiting for five years. It’s evolved very fast and it’s getting bigger. As markets open it’s great to meet new people – connection-wise it’s very good.”
Jeff Correa, international marketing director, Pear Bureau Northwest (US)
“Asia Fruit Logistica allows for the participants to have many valuable meetings with key buyers from around the region in just a few days, instead of having to take two or three weeks to visit each (in their respective) markets.”
Mickey Weinstock, Hong Kong & China representative, FL.C 1998 Premium Fresh Herbs, Fruits & Vegetables (Israel)
“Everything here is quality, from the trade visitors to the exhibition layout with the wide aisles. The Business Forum has been very interesting, with pertinent topics, well-attended sessions and plenty of questions.”