The first air shipment of Chilean cherries arrived in China on 24th of Oct which was a similar timing as last year. The variety was the Brooks from northern Chile. “We will mainly focus on varieties like Royal Dawn and Santina which will start the first week of November. There will be less fruit shipped to China by air, due to the high air freight and a shortage of charter flights, while the demand is still strong. We are expecting at least the same or bit higher market price level than last season. But remember, the air freight cost is 40-50% more than last season.” This is according to Daniel Ho who is the Co-founder/ Commercial Director of Topsun.
Daniel Ho ( first on the left) and his team at a cherry orchard in Chile
When talking about the season's prospects, Daniel Ho stated that there are always different challenges for the fruit industry, but the coming season will probably be the most challenging one ever. It is expected to have 10-15% more cherries this season as a whole, but at the same time, other markets have been developed during the years and more fruit will be exported to these markets such as the US, Canada, EU, UK, India, Vietnam etc.
He continued: “As mentioned by the president of the Chilean cherry committee, hopefully there will be 10-15% of cherries which can be exported to other markets aside from China. From our point of view, the Chinese market is still confident it can consume such volumes. As with many other industries, there are lots of uncertainties and unexpected challenges such as increasing costs, a shortage of containers, Covid control protocols, new protocols about viruses etc. But I think the biggest concerns will be logistics and the uncertain efficiency of container withdrawing, if Covid was found at the port of discharge.”
Cherry orchard in Chile
Over the years, Topsun have developed diversified channels, but now the company focus more and more on new channels such as lower tier markets, regional retailers and on-line retailers. Aside from that, Topsun have their own booth in the Shanghai market, and there are experienced sales teams based in Guangzhou, Jiaxing, Beijing, Shenyang etc. who have a range of solutions in case of different market situations.
Daniel Ho continued: “Regarding brands, we are working both with our partner’s brand and our own brand. We have a strong QA/QC team and only the fruit that is in line with our quality specifications can be packed with our label. Thanks to the consistent high quality, we are happy to see extra value are being added to more fruits with our label - such as sugar plums, oranges, grapefruits, pineapple, durian, jack fruit etc.”
Furthermore, Topsun have their own quality and commercial team based in Chile the whole year around and they already have their team from China staying in Chile for the whole season. “Even though it is not easy and very costly to travel to Chile, but we decided on it as it is so important for us to stay with our partners and make good decisions together during the season. From what they have seen in orchards by now, there are fewer fruits on the trees this year but the sizes and quality are expected to be better. The weather is good and no rain or hail is expected in the coming weeks, which is good for the harvest of early varieties,” commented Daniel.
cherry orchard in Chile
He also told Freshplaza during the interview: “As a company, we mainly focus on imported fruits both tropical and non-tropical. In addition to cherries, we are also importing and distributing all kinds of other quality fruits to meet the demand from our clients. We have our own team based in southeast Asia to do tropical fruits like durian, dragon fruits, coconut, jackfruit, longan etc. While our non-tropical team mainly focus on products from the southern hemisphere countries like Chile, South Africa, Peru, Australia, New Zealand etc.”
“Aside from sales channels on the traditional wholesale markets, we also focus on lower tier markets and regional retailers. For example, we are working with more than 30 partners in the 2-4 tier cities inside of China which helped us a lot last cherry season especially when the Covid issues happened. At the same time, as the on-line retail in China is growing dramatically, we are investing more in RDC facilities to supply directly to on-line retailers with one-stop solutions, including ripening, repacking and delivery.” He added.
Cherry orchard in Chile
In the last year, along with the booming economy, the growing middle-class population, and more fruits from other countries getting access to China, the value of fruit imports is increasing 20%+ on a yearly basis, though there is still a big potential to grow. At the same time, the consumers are getting more and more professional. This can be seen from several facts: First of all, most of the family shopping decisions, especially for food, are made by the moms or grandmas, and they are more careful about safety and health benefits when they make a decision to buy fresh fruits. Secondly, consumers especially the younger generations are more careful about freshness, flavor or timing of deliveries etc. Thirdly, the branding and origin of the fruit are becoming more important to consumers, especially the younger generations. Last but not least, consumers are care more about the quality and especially the flavor and taste of the fruits. Consumers will pay high prices but only for high quality fruits.
For more information:
Contact person: Daniel Ho - Co-founder/ Commercial Director
Company name: Shanghai Topsun Fresh Co., Ltd.
Telephone number: +86 138 1721 4619