Companies join forces to create one of the largest importers of Chilean cherries in China


Verfrut and Copefrut are ramping up cherry production

Leading Chilean suppliers Copefrut and Verfrut have formed a new alliance to market their fruit in China. The companies said the deal would allow them to establish new synergies in the Chinese market and boost the availability of key products including cherries.

Copefrut, one of Chile’s top five fruit companies, has been growing and exporting conventional and organic fresh fruit for almost 70 years. It has two operations centres and coldstorage facilities in China, one in Guangzhou and the other in Shanghai, providing an integrated import, logistics and delivery service to its customers there since 2018.

Verfrut, owned and operated by the Vercellino family, was created more than 30 years ago and today markets more than 15m cartons of fruit from orchards in Chile and Peru.

“Our commercial office in China was created four years ago, with the idea of marketing Copefrut fruit, reaching customers more directly, but also with the idea of inviting other leading produce partners such as Verfrut, who would amplify our categories and thus enhance our offering,” said Felipe Casanova, Copefrut’s commercial manager.

Ignacio Donoso, director of new business development at Verfrut, commented: “At Verfrut we have been growing for years by opening commercial platforms in North America and Europe, and China was the logical next step.

“We are doing it in partnership with Copefrut due to its outstanding expertise in this market and, above all, because we have the same way of looking at the business.”

Both companies said the alliance would allow them to enhance product availability, share knowledge and maintain their leadership in the market.

“Undoubtedly, together we are going to consolidate our positions, deliver a much more attractive offering, and we will be more competitive,” commented Casanova.

“This alliance brings an infinity of strengths,” said Romano Vercellino Martínez, Verfrut’s commercial manager. “We have a series of complementarity aspects, but also points of synergy, such as, for example, in cherries.”

Verfrut’s cherry output is projected to grow from 5,000 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes in the short term, while Copefrut expects its cherry volume to grow from 30,000 tonnes currently to 45,000 tonnes.

“With those 70m kilos that we will have together, we will consolidate our position in Chile and, eventually, this will transform the commercial office into one of the largest importers in China,” says Casanova.

The alliance will be completed by a local partner, FullBloom International. “Fullbloom’s know-how and experience has allowed us to accelerate the consolidation process there and minimise risks in a market as complex as China’s, in which communication and cultural understanding are fundamental attributes for the success of projects,” explained Casanova.

Copefrut and Verfrut hope the new platform will extend their supply window in China, ideally reaching 52 weeks of the year.

In the long run, they plan to incorporate a percentage of strategic partner exporters that contribute with other categories of products as well as joining forces, “sharing a vision of cooperation and contributing to development and expansion, putting aside the difficulties that companies in Chile have to instead share and promote their expertise to the world”.