A challenging season for Chilean grapes and plums

In the past few days, the movements in Guangzhou Jiangnan wholesale market import fruit section gradually recovered from the "cherry crisis" but still moves very slow. The last batch of cherry containers arriving gives pressure to the market again. A Chilean fruit exporter at Guangzhou Jiangnan wholesale market introduced us the market status of a few types of imported fruits.

“The price of Jumbo cherries is now 120 RMB/box, almost half price compared with last year. 06 February was the last day of an upward price trend. Retail chains are buying cherries for Chinese New Year (CNY). After 06 February, CNY starts and the market movements slow down again. On 06 February alone, at least one vessel with 300 cherry containers arrived in China, this gave the market even bigger pressure. Many containers are stocked in the market. It is predicted that the new arrival fruits will all be sold, but at a very low price.”

Most of the cherries in the market are Lapin variety. “The product quality of Lapin cherries is not very stable. Some of the cherries are already changing color and turning brown and needs to be sold out quickly. But the longer these cherries are stocked in the market, the less fresh they are, which again affects the consumers’ willingness to buy. In general, the market is facing a big challenge.”

In the last few weeks, Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O'Higgins in Chile experienced very heavy rainfall, causing serious damage to varieties of fruits. “The harvest activities of late-season blueberry varieties had already stopped; the season will end sooner than normal. Chilean grapes are not yet being exported to China in large volumes because of Covid-19. Some growers and packers in Chile already stated that they will stop export to China this season.”

Besides grapes, the Chilean plum is very popular among Chinese consumers. “The rainfall also caused a big damage to the plum orchards. Some fruits are cracking. Exporters need to pay extra attention to post-harvest preservation.”

This exporter is walking around in Guangzhou Jiangnan wholesale market every day, checking the condition of newly-arrived fruits, and provides after-sales support for their packaging. “This market is full of potential.”  He said, “we are glad to see that more varieties of fruits are liked by Chinese consumers. The import volume is steadily growing. The ‘cherry incident’ is a wake up call for the sector, it reflected that along with the fast-growing demand, consumers clearly care a lot about issues of food safety and product quality. Any food quality issues will have a huge impact on consumer patterns. Growers and exporters from the product origin side need to spend even more effort in post-harvest technologies.

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