The Chilean government and agricultural exporters have recently launched an intensive PR campaign using social platforms and influencers, trying to reverse the damage caused by the cherry Covid controversy in China, reported by La Tercera.
Earlier news reported that cherries imported from Chile were tested positive for Covid-19. Although Chinese experts stated in prominent state media that the thoroughly cleaned cherries can be consumed with confidence, it was too late and negative news was rampant. In the face of this situation and declining cherry prices, the Chilean private sector and the government jointly launched a PR campaign to curb the impact of this incident, so as not to affect the 190 million kilograms of cherries yet to be marketed worth about 1.2 billion US dollars.
The private sector allocated 1.5 million US dollars to launch a campaign to restore market confidence. Exporters also used influencers to promote the health benefits of cherries and remind consumers of their juicy, crunchy, and sweet taste, in order to revive consumers’ purchase desire. In addition, exporters also launched promotional activities at sales venues and e-commerce websites to attract consumers. Two days later, this strategy had produced a certain effect.
In terms of market conditions, sales have rebounded and prices have risen slightly. Although the market outlook has improved, the private sector and the government have not let down their caution against the uncertainties that may arise in the future. In addition, according to a report on Bloomberg News on January 26, Chile is working hard to restore consumer confidence in China after the alleged incidence where the Covid-19 virus was detected on the package of Chilean cherries that went viral on Chinese social media.
Data from ASOEX show that the wholesale sales volume is currently only at 4% of the normal level in the same period of previous years, while the retail volume is down 63% from the previous week. The association said in a statement that although Chinese state media denied that a box containing cherries were again tested positive for Covid-19, consumers seemed to be heeding more to a large number of posts warning them not to buy imported foods.
It is reported that in 2019, cherries overtook grapes and became Chile's most exported fruit, with sales of US$1.6 billion.
Source: La Tercera