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Company steps up measures to combat counterfeiters in China

With Chinese New Year rapidly approaching exporters around the world are shipping fruit to the Asian markets before the festivities begin. It is the tradition to give big sweet red fruits to friends and family at this time of the year and cherries make the perfect gift.

Tasmanian cherry grower Reid Fruits has been shipping premium cherries to Asia for years, China being the biggest market.

This year the crop has been down a bit, mainly due to poor weather during the flowering period so there has not as much fruit as Tim Reid would have liked. "Quality is good despite the amount of rain we have had. We used helicopters to dry the trees as soon as it stopped raining to minimise damage to the fruit. We probably lost around 10% of our fruit to rain. But due to all these challenges it is only the best cherries left on the trees and we have some really lovely fruit, just a little bit less of it."

There are lot of big and medium sized cherries with really nice flavour, According to Tim people are coming back for repeat orders which they are finding difficult to fill, "From China alone we have had 200 applications from potential new customers, these are commercial importers and supermarkets, but we just can't supply them all, and we have continue to serve our existing customers.

"We are full on exporting to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for the New Year celebrations, but we also have another 15 + markets which we supply," explains Tim Reid. "It is impossible to fill all of the orders, so we need to balance it out a bit between our customers."

China then South Korea are probably Reid's biggest markets but they send fruit right across South East Asia, and even as far as India.

"Chile is also sending cherries to China, but we are not really in the same segment of the market as them. We only air freight premium cherries where as Chile does both sea freight and some air freight. We put in a lot effort to market our cherries in the high-end markets and are very careful with our selection of the fruit which goes to our export markets. All the cherries are sold in in premium gift boxes and a large percentage of the fruit exported to China is sold on-line in the Reid Fruits branded cherry boxes.

Reid Fruit has also taken big measures to combat counterfeiters trying to sell lower quality cherries under the Reid Fruits brand. This year Reid Fruits cherries were available in Hong Kong two weeks before they started to harvest!

"We have three or four ways to identify Reid Fruit cherries, we have this year, for the first time, printed our logo on the plastic lining inside our boxes. The base of the cartons are now watermarked with branding, and there is new laser cut sticker on the boxes which is different to the one we used last year."

"We are still using little cards inside the box with a QR code, each QR code is unique. The consumer can scan the card with an IPhone and it will take then them to the Reid Fruits' website where they will get a welcome message and confirmation that they have an original box of our cherries, however if the card has already been scanned by someone else they will get a message saying they may have a fake and to go back to the supplier This has had a big impact. In addition, we get data on where the cards have been scanned. This all costs a little bit more but we need to protect our brand."

We are also taking action through the authorities in Hong Kong to pursue people who have appeared with Reid Fruits brand on the markets.

Reid Fruit is still planting trees to cope with the extra demand, with 4ha of it protected by a retractable roof which will protect the cherries during rain events and other adverse weather events, however the cherries from the new block will take a few years to come into production.

For more information:
Lucy Gregg
Reid fruits
Tel: +61 408 977725

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