Chile lemons

With the first shipment of Chilean citrus destined for China, the country’s commercial trade office, ProChile, has discussed the opportunities the new market holds in a webinar withthe industry.

According to a report from SimFruit, more than 50 exporters and producers heard from a number of speakers who helped to characterise the Chinese market discussing consumer preferences, competitors and opportunities.

Juan José Vidal, commercial director of ProChile in Shanghai, said the first shipment was the start of a long journey for Chilean citrus but the Covid-19 pandemic had already created new demands.

“Doing business in China is a marathon, it takes time. In this sense, establishing trust with the importer or the distributor is essential,” Vidal explained.

“There is a clear inclination to consume high-quality products.China has changed, the consumer is going to be much more demanding.The issue of food safety is key, it is something that you have to work on, put together a whole story on and add value to our offer from it.”

The webinar also focused sustainability, both in production and trade with speakers highlighting the advantages a sustainable approach would bring.

Vicente Alti, Regional Director of ProChile in Valparaíso, said sustainability help differentiate Chilean citrus.

“The opening of the Chinese market is a tremendous opportunity, since it allows diversifying destinations and reducing dependence on other buyers such as the United States,” Alti said.

“However, we must have attributes to face the competition and sustainability emerges as a differentiator and an aggregator of value for our offer.”

Catalina Cuevas, head of sustainability of ProChile, concurred and urged the Chilean industry continue to adopt a sustainable approach.

“Sustainable trade ceased to be a trend and was installed as an opportunity to differentiate ourselves and do more with less,” Cuevas said.

“It is essential that companies adopt responsible, transparent production processes that enhance their competitiveness and make them more resilient.”