Chinese consumers have raised their requirements for the quality of imported fruit since their living standards have improved. They pay more attention to food safety and product quality. When Chinese consumers buy fruit, the price is no longer the only important factor. Other elements now include the origin of the fruit, unique characteristics of different fruit varieties, and the nutritional value of fruit. Take oranges as an example, import oranges in the Chinese market generally come from the USA, Spain, Italy, and South Africa. Spanish oranges in particular have suddenly caught the eye of Chinese consumers. Spain is one of the most important producers of oranges in the world. Orange plantation in Spain has intensified and new orange varieties rapidly replace older ones.
Spanish oranges have two main advantages in the Chinese market. First, Spain enjoys excellent natural conditions for the production of oranges. Spain has a Mediterranean climate with more than enough sunshine in summer, which is excellent for the accumulation of sugars in oranges. And even the winters are warm enough for the orange trees to survive. In addition, rainfall is more than sufficient.
Secondly, the level of plantation technology is rather high in Spain. Spanish orange production takes place on a large scale and the product varieties in Spain are of the highest quality. The orange varieties produced in Spain all have excellent commercial value with comfortable profit margins. A spokesperson for Ole Fruit recently talked about the impact of the pandemic on the retail conditions of Spanish oranges in the Chinese market.
"The outbreak of Covid-19 did have an impact on Spanish orange export to China, but in my opinion that impact was limited. Our own orange brand, 'Corona Gold', is exported not just to China, but as far as Dubai in the Middle East, as well as the USA and Canada. Our oranges are grown in Sevilla and Valencia, and their supply season lasts 6 months. The most popular orange varieties in the market are late-season Navel orange varieties such as Powell and Banfield." This is according to Pan Jun of Ole Fruit.
Pan Jun said, "the production volume of Spanish oranges is more or less on the same level as last year. The production volume did not suffer from extreme weather conditions. However, we only supply top-quality fruit, which still limits our supply volume. This is the 5th year that we sell our oranges on the Chinese market. One of the main advantages we have over other Spanish exporters is full control over the entire supply chain. We own our orange orchards, so that we can effectively control product quality. In addition, we take advantage of keen insight in the Chinese market and our understanding of localization processes. We accumulate market feedback and make adjustments that other overseas suppliers can not make, so that our connection to the Chinese market becomes more efficient."
First- and second tier cities in China have slowly become saturated in terms of fruit supply, but at the same time there is growing demand for high-quality import fruit in third- and fourth tier cities throughout China. That is why Ole Fruit continues to develop their markets in first- and second tier cities, but simultaneously expands retail activities in third- and fourth tier cities too. In the end, according to Pan Jun, "we need more knowledgeable people who are willing to cooperate in brand management. We can advance together and take advantage of mutually beneficial commercial opportunities."
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