Malaysia's frozen durian exports to China drive demand for pulp

“Durian exports from Malaysia have skyrocketed since the shelled durian gained access to China in May 2019. Within just one month from July to August, our company exported 675 tons to China, nearly 4 times that of last year,” Luo Sheng, Manager of Malaysia company KAMI FOOD SERVICES SDN BHD said.

Mr. Yang (left), Chairman, and Mr. Loh (right), China Manger of KAMI Company

“The durian sector in Malaysia follows the traditional model and only markets the fruit after it is fully ripe and naturally falls to the ground. Although these naturally ripened fruit have better quality and taste better, they do have the disadvantage of short shelf life. The fruit usually rots within about three days, so it is not suitable for long-distance transportation. When the news arrived that frozen durians from Malaysia had gained access to the Chinese market, many local growers began to look for new planting sites to further expand production."

"Currently, the biggest demand in China is still for Musang King D197, fetching retail prices ranging from 88 to 128 yuan/half a kilo for whole fruit,” commented Manager Luo. "With durians from Malaysia flooding into China, offerings in the market are becoming more and more varied. Some exporters use cheap fruits that pretend to be high-end varieties and sell them at prices several times above the actual price. Moreover, the product information is not written in the customs declaration, so it is also difficult for non-expert importers to distinguish the variety and the grade of the product. Therefore, I believe that we are in urgent need of regulations."

KAMI’s processing factory in Malaysia

In addition to frozen durian, durian pulp is also a major product of KAMI FOOD SERVICES SDN BHD. "In fact, before the frozen and shelled durians were allowed into China, we had been exporting frozen durian pulp to this market for 6 consecutive years, and the sales volume had been growing steadily at a rate of 20% per year."

"We source fresh fruit from farms in Malaysia, crush them into pulp, and then sell them in vacuum packaging by using liquid nitrogen freezing technology. Our sales channels include restaurant chains, large supermarkets, and e-commerce platforms. Most of the durians we use are D24, the second most popular variety in Malaysia commanding 70%-80% of the market share. This variety is more affordable and its taste is more acceptable to the public,” Mr. Loh said.

Durians in KAMI’s plantation

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