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Post Time:2019-09-09Author:F2C-NINA

Have you achieved the goal of “cherry freedom” which means to buy cherries as many as you like without financial burden? This issue went viral on the Internet during this Spring Festival. Although many white-collar workers in first-tier cities plaint that it is difficult to achieve "cherry freedom" even if their monthly salaries exceed 10,000 yuan, customs statistics shows that the total volume and total amount of fruits imported by our country last year all maintained a high single digit growth, among which the total volume of imported fruits reached 5.527 million tons, an increase of 25% from the same period last year, and the total amount of imported fruit reached 7.62 billion US dollars, an increase of 36% compared to the previous year. The imported fruits, represented by cherries, have increasingly entered the homes of ordinary people and become a sample of consumption upgrades.


China is the most populous country in the world and one of the world's biggest consumers of food. Since Chinese people’s consumption ability has grown greatly, the level of their fruit consumption has also risen after they meet the expenses of daily life. More and more imported fruits are put on the shelves is supermarkets and fruit specialty stores. Therefore, it has also greatly boosted the supply and trade value of fruits and vegetables from various countries exported to China. According to the statistics of import volume and import amount, in 2018, the top five countries of fruit exports to China were Chile ($1.682 billion, a 68.40% year-on-year increase) , Thailand ($1.662 billion, a 66.95% yearon-year increase) , the Philippines ($731 million, a 41.95% year-on-year increase) , Vietnam ($719 million, a 12.32% year-onyear increase) , and New Zealand ($442 million, a 25.14% year-on-year increase) . As in the past few years, the competition for the first place is still between Chile and Thailand, with each export amount almost on a par, accounting for 24.23% and 23.93% of China's total imports respectively. American fruit exports to China fell 31.09% to $269 million compared to the previous year, due to trade frictions, and accounted for 3.88% of the total in 2018, down from 7.68% in 2017.


Although Chile is in a dominant position in trade value, Vietnam heads the list of the share of imported fruit quantity. Vietnam exported to China 1.229 million tons of various tropical fruits, including pitaya, longan and watermelon, an increase of 9.72% from the same period last year;

while the Philippines ranks the second, which accounted for 23.92% of China's imported fruit market, and the export volume was 1.161 million tons, an increase of 37.61% from the same period last year; followed by Thailand with 767,500 tons, Chile with 387,700 tons and Ecuador with 240,500 tons, each with a significant increase compared with the same period last year. Vietnam and the Philippines, which account for 25.32% and 23.92% of China's total import volume respectively, have widened a significant gap with their counterparts.


With the improvement of young consumers' purchasing ability and the advancement of their consumption consciousness, they are inclined to purchase fruits of higher price but of better quality. According to the “2019 New Year Purchases Consumption Report on Fresh Food” released by fresh e-commerce platform Miss Fresh, Chilean cherries has become the veritable "King of hot sale" during the Spring Festival, with sales soaring more than 32 times compared to the previous year. Similarly, the Spring Festival consumption index released by Suning.com also showed that the sales of Chilean cherries jumped by more than 12 times compared with the same period last year. As it turns out, it is no accident that imported cherries are in the center position of Chinese New Year fruit sales. With the advantage of $1.303 billion and a 69.42% year-on-year increase, cherries topped the list of the fruits in import trade value of the last year, followed by fresh durian reaching $1.095 billion, a 98.35% year-on-year increase, banana ($897 million), a 54.84% year-on-year increase, fresh grapes ($586 million), a 0.31% year-on-year decrease and fresh orange ($437 million), a 14.39% year-on-year increase.


As the "senior flagship" of the national fruit sales, the Jiangnan Fruit Market in Guangzhou has also made new changes in catering to the development of the imported fruit market, and established an imported fruit trading zone on purpose. Each type of imported fruit in the import trading zone of Jiangnan Fruit Market have made a clear distinction by category, so buyers can find the designated goods more easily every day. The number of orders for imported fruit also reflects the level of acceptance and popularity of consumers, and there is now an amazing increase in daily orders and shipments of imported products in the fruit market. According to the calculation that a cold chain container can carry 20-25 tons of fruit, orders for imported fruit in Jiangnan Fruit Market currently exceed 100 containers every day, that is more than 2500 tons.

Mr. Charles HSU, General Manager of Ever Vinco (Guangzhou) International Co., Ltd., which imports products from more than 10 countries in the Jiangnan Fruit Market, says that at present more and more merchants start to sell imported fruits, and the top 10 source countries of imports are Thailand, Chile, Vietnam, the Philippines, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Peru and Ecuador, while the most popular in Chinese market is cherries from Chile and Peru, and the second is durian from Thailand.



Although imported fruit is good, there is a series of problems that it has to face on the way to the Chinese market. Transportation is one of the problems that cannot be ignored. According to the characteristics of different fruits, packaging, transportation and preservation have different emphases. Due to the short freshness period of fruits and their large weight and volume, they are generally transported to China by sea. It usually takes five to seven days to transport fruits from southeast Asia by sea though it's closer to China.And it takes 30 days for fruits being transported from USA because of the longest distance between China and the US. Therefore, optimization of the supply chain and monitoring of temperature are particularly important in order to ensure that the fruit, which has taken a long and arduous journey, can still be fresh when it reaches consumers.

As the most popular "celebrity" fruit in the market, cherry and durian are different in methods of cold chain preservation. According to Mr.Song Chaofeng from Guangdong Tailian Co., Ltd., in order to keep the original taste and flavor of durian, they remove the shell and core of each durian by hand immediately after picking it from a tree, wrap the durian in vacuum or nitrogen and store it in a freezer at -35 °C. Not only that, it must be kept at a constant temperature state at -18 °C in the process of transport. Only in this way can durian maintain more than 95% of its fresh and good taste when it arrives in China. Cherries are even frailer. In order to keep them fresh, the berries need to be immediately hypnotized by nitrogen within one hour after being picked, and then the "hypnotized" cherries are quickly put in the cold store for preservation, and finally transported to China at a constant temperature of 0°C. Due to the high requirements for transport of cherries, it is easy to increase the rotting rate of cherries by sea transportation, thus it is more common to ship cherries to China by air transportation.

In addition to difficult transportation, retailers also rack their brains for storage technology in order to make fresh imported fruit available to more consumers. According to the report, Suning platform sold 500,000 kilograms of Chilean cherries during the Spring Festival, an increase of 1,268.6% over last year. In order to get the first-hand fresh cherry, Suning started the mode of direct-picking in place of origin, eliminating the multiple intermediate links and reducing costs. In addition, Suning is also actively building its own network of cold-chain warehouses in China. It has now built 45 cold-chain warehouses in China, covering 179 cities across the country.

Fruit is a small category, but it becomes a scale that measures consumption. China's Engel's coefficient (the proportion of total food expenditure in total personal consumption expenditure) has been gradually declining in recent years. Chinese consumers have shifted from subsistence consumption to the pursuit of eating well, eating healthily and eating nutritiously. This has been the long-term state of consumption upgrade. Undeniably, with the upgrade of consumption, a large number of delicious fresh fruits from all over the world are continuously exported to the Chinese market.

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