In the past few days, the Guangzhou Jiangnan wholesale market has gradually recovered but is still moving very slowly. Despite this, more than 3,000 containers full of cherries arrived in China before the Chinese New Year. Felipe Acosta is the operational manager of a Chilean modified atmosphere packaging provider, Paclife. He shared the latest market status of several types of Chilean fruits with us.
“The price of Jumbo cherries is now 120 RMB/box, almost half price compared with last year. Last Saturday (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 caused the market to experience even more pressure. Many containers are stocked in the market. It is predicted that in the next few weeks, this fruit will all be sold, but at a very low price.”
Most of the cherries in the market are Lapin and Regina varieties. “The product quality of Lapin cherries is not very stable. Some of the cherries are already changing color and turning brown. The Regina cherry is a very delicate variety that needs to be stored with great care 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.“ Felipe said,
“That’s why is very important to have a smart technology supporting the fruits, exporters should feel more confidents, because our modified atmosphere bags not only provide fresh and firm cherries, they also help to reduce the effects of the market situations, such as long storage times and temperature breaks.”
In the last few weeks, Valparaíso, Metropolitana and O'Higgins in Chile experienced very heavy rainfall, causing serious damage to many varieties of fruit. “The harvest activities of late-season blueberry varieties had already stopped; the season will end sooner than normal. Table grapes were most affected by the rainfall, which caused around 150 million USD lost for the sector. Almost all varieties suffered from damage by cracking, and lots of fruits are dropping from trees.” Felipe said, “Chilean grapes are not yet being exported to China in large volumes because of Covid-19. Some growers and packers in Chile have already stated that they will stop exports to China this season.”
Besides grapes, the Chilean plum is very popular among Chinese consumers. “The heavy rainfall also caused major damages in the plum orchards, some early varieties are cracking badly. Late varieties do not immediately crack after rainfall damage, so not many abnormalities can be seen from the surface. But exporters need to pay extra attention to post-harvest preservation.”
Paclife provides modified atmosphere packing for a variety of fruits. Acosta can be seen walking around in Guangzhou Jiangnan wholesale market every day, checking the condition of newly-arrived fruits, and providing after-sales support for their packaging.
“This market is full of potential.” Felipe 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.”