The Covid-19 pandemic ongoing for months has undoubtedly had some impact on the fruit and vegetable market. Fruit imports have fallen significantly. Although the downturn in the market has frustrated some traders, the crisis has made consumers more conscious of food safety, and also made the fruit industry aware of the importance of establishing a sound traceability system. In this regard, several companies in the industry of imported fruits shared their views.
Mr. Chen, Import Manager of Yu Qian Trading, a specialized fruit import company, reviewed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry. "In terms of logistics, the time required for shipping during the outbreak was fairly normal, but the speed of switching the bills of lading slowed down due to factors such as the staff of shipping companies working from home and restrictions on the entry and exit of personnel at the port. For companies, switching the bill of lading may even be delayed by about a week than usual, which caused great inconvenience for picking up imports.” Mr. Chen believes that in light of this, the quality of the fruit and its traceability system shows special importance.
Mr. Tan, Quality Control Manager of Xianfeng Fruit, shared his insights: “The market as a whole is experiencing slow sales, and consumers have begun to pay more attention to the quality of higher-priced imported fruits on top of making fewer purchases.”
Mr. Tan believes that the Covid-19 outbreak is no doubt a public crisis, but from another perspective, it is also an opportunity for the fruit industry. The industry should take advantage of this to strengthen product quality and the traceability system. Although the quality and traceability system of imported fruits has always existed, there were few people in China who really paid close attention to it. As the Covid-19 crisis has stipulated widespread consumer awareness of food quality and logistics conditions, the improvement and implementation of the quality and traceability system of the supply chain are imperative, so that the entire industry would become more standardized.
Mr. Gu is the Brand Manager of Cydiance, a quality control equipment company. “Although there are many external factors that affect the quality of fruit, the temperature is one of the most important, which makes temperature recorders the most important component in the fruit quality traceability system,” Mr. Gu said. “Unlike importers in Europe and the US, importers in China have less specified requirements for foreign exporters to put temperature and humidity recording equipment in containers. In most cases, these are arranged by the exporters themselves. This has led to different practices from exporters and the recorders used are also varied, which would lead to great inconveniences to import inspection and data filing. Once problems occur, there’s no one to be found to perform on-site data maintenance, which would even lead to losing insurance claims. Therefore, we strongly recommend that importers in China guide exporters in terms of the temperature and humidity traceability system and make a careful comparison and choose brands with excellent quality and good post-sales services in both the place of export and in China."
When talking about the company's performance during the outbreak, Mr. Gu said: “Our business has in fact not been greatly affected. This may be due to the fact that the industry has had higher requirements for product quality during the crisis.” With more and more South American fruits gaining access to China and the ever-increasing import volume, Cydiance sees the great potential of this market. Currently, the company has set up distributors in most countries in South America and branches in Chile and Peru to improve its on-site service capabilities for exporters and importers.