The closure of Beijing's main fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat wholesale market due to an outbreak of coronavirus on June 13, raised fears that the fruit logistics and distribution chain in China could face further problems. “Chinese consumers are concerned about the new outbreak, but this didn't affect fruits, as fruit consumption among the population continues to be normal and there have been no problems in its sale through the various channels,” Juan Jose Vidal, the Commercial Attaché of ProChile in Shanghai, told SimFRUIT.
According to Natalia Cortés, Commercial Attaché of ProChile in Beijing, even though prevention and social distancing measures continue to be implemented strictly in the capital, the situation looks favorable. However, she said, fruit consumption in Beijing, especially of imported fruit, is facing new challenges.
"The closure of Xinfadi had a direct impact on some warehouses because they were not supplied with products, which triggered a lower supply in the market affecting consumption. Some retail markets selling imported fruit here in Beijing have been closed until further notice. In addition, there is a high probability that the authorities will destroy these warehouses' stock as a preventive measure,” she stated.
However, this situation would not happen in other Chinese markets. “The situation of the fresh fruit continues to be normal in the central and southern areas of the country. There have been no doubts about its origin or its quality, and it has not been linked in any way to the new outbreak,” Juan Jose Vidal stated.
Chinese consumer confidence in fruit
Chinese consumers continue to trust in the quality and food safety of imported fruits even after the Chinese authorities announced a greater control for imported foods due to the outbreak in the Xinfadi market.
"We have been following the situation after the new outbreak to see how it evolves and we have been working to know the needs and concerns of consumers. That's how we know that they continue to trust the imported fruit. Unfortunately, access to it has been hindered by market closings, which has decreased consumption,” Cortes stated.
According to her, this difficulty is being overcome, once again, by online shopping. "In line with the trend that we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic, the purchase of fresh products through e-commerce channels has increased considerably, reaching 300 to 400% in the case of some platforms," she added.