BFV Dole China

Marc Evrard (left) with BFV's Thomas Simillion (second from right) and Terry Chan (right)

One decade ago, on 22 January 2011, Belgian cooperative BFV and importer Dole China held a joint opening ceremony in Shanghai for the arrival of the first container of Truval Conference Pears – the first western pear to be officially imported into China.

To celebrate this ten-year anniversary, which also coincides with 50 years of diplomatic relations between Belgium and China, BFV and Dole have a wide range of events and marketing initiatives planned, both for the trade and for consumers.

A brand-new Truval Conference Pear gift box was launched last month for key retailers in China, highlighting the unique cultural bond between the two countries.

The last ten years have seen the BFV-Dole partnership continually strengthen, as Europe’s number one pear has won over consumers across China. “Even with other pear varieties having become available in the years since, Truval Conference pears are recognised by both Chinese consumers and industry experts alike as the number one western pear reference in the Chinese market,” BFV stated.

The cooperative described the partnership as “a match made in heaven, as it was able to plan, market and promote Conference Pears gradually in all major markets and regions across the country”.

This strategic approach has proven key in educating consumers and professionals about the unique taste of the Conference and in managing to exponentially increase its year-on-year sales volume over the past decade.

In 2017, Dole and Truval’s efforts were recognised at the Asia Fruit Awards during Asia Fruit Logistica, where the companies won Marketing Campaign of the Year for their work in China to educate professionals and consumers about Conference pears, demonstrating how best to store, handle and enjoy the fruit, as well as organise logistics.

“I believe this ten-year journey is just a beginning for both of us,” said Terry Chan, general manager of Dole China. “With the joint efforts and cooperation going from strength to strength, we will cheer for the next brilliant decade soon.”

Marc Evrard, commercial director at BFV, added: “This achievement is clearly a testament to the faith, persistence, commitment and teamwork of all involved in the BFV and Dole China partnership, without whom introducing a new product in a new market would not have been possible. At the same time we look forward to celebrating many more such milestones together in the years and decades to come.”

The near future holds other possibilities for the BFV-Dole partnership, such as marketing pear varieties like Sweet Sensation and the coming launch of the exclusive Red Conference pear in China, which is set to be a first for Dole in Asia.