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Taiwan: an interesting market for Chilean kiwis

Nicolás Portaluppi, General Manager of Compañía Chilena de la Fruta S.A., a firm working with ProChile this year to develop the project "Introduction of Chilean kiwis in Taiwan's market," talks about the potential of Chilean kiwis in Asia.

What relevance has Chilean fresh fruit in Taiwan's market?

Taiwan, just like China, has become an important destination for Chilean fresh fruit in the Asian market. The average consumption of fresh fruit per person is 125 kilos, placing them among the largest fresh fruit consumers worldwide.

It is important to remember that fruit in Taiwan is considered a gift. People send fruit in gift packages to friends and family during the three major festivities, which are the Chinese New Year (January-February), the Dragon Boat Festival (June) and the Moon Festival (September).

How large are the volumes shipped and what are the main varieties?

Up to July 2012, fruit shipments have been made valued at US$500,000, and volumes have doubled every year since 2010. New Zealand has the largest share of the market with 85.8%, followed by France (5.7%) and Italy (5.6%). Chile's share is of 1.43%. The Golden varieties are always welcome and reach high prices.

What are the main demands from Taiwanese consumers?

The market is very demanding regarding quality. In the case of kiwis, what matters most is ripeness. Our main problem, still to be solved, is the columella's hardness.

Additionally, they demand the shape of kiwis to be cylindrical and that they look as homogeneous as possible in the box.

In terms of flavour, they like them as sweet as possible. For apples and cherries, besides sweetness, they also look for strong colours.

What must Chilean exporters take into consideration?

The fruit's quality and condition are important, but Taiwanese consumers also care a lot about presentation. It is essential for each pallet to look perfect, for each box to look outstanding and hopefully also with formats and colours they like. 

It is also worth noting that, in recent years, much of the fruit that was consumed internally is being exported, mainly to China. Due to this, and to problems in production, mainly caused by the typhoons, import tariffs have been reduced up to 50% for apples, kiwis and peaches. This, without a doubt, is a great advantage for Chilean exporters.

Another thing that Chilean exporters must consider is that supply cannot be interrupted, as what they want is continuity in product offerings.

What is the tendency in terms of kiwi consumption?

Although we do not have official figures, kiwis on this market, just like in other Asian countries, are a relevant part of the daily diet, growing in importance every year.

How well-positioned are Chilean kiwis? Are they well-received by consumers?

Chilean kiwis are not well-positioned, because we neglected this market a few years ago. New Zealand kiwis have now pretty much a monopoly on this market and they are the ones Taiwanese consumers are used to. Sadly, Chilean kiwis are still not well-received, which is why working on promotion and quality is essential.

What volumes of Chilean kiwis are currently being consumed on this market?

According to our estimates, we believe that exports this year will not surpass 25 containers.

Who are we competing against?

Without a doubt, our main competitor on this market is New Zealand. They invest lots of resources on promotion and they focus especially on children and older adults. 

Whenever we have visited Taiwan as a company, we have observed supermarket and retail promotions in various Taiwanese cities. We, the Compañía Chilena de la Fruta (CCF), in partnership with ProChile, are conducting a project for the introduction of Chilean kiwis in Taiwan. This year we will organise tastings of our kiwis in Taipei and Kaohsiung. Additionally, we are visiting the major wholesalers and supermarkets where our kiwis could be distributed.

What do we need to improve in our kiwis?

We must improve the fruit's consistency to avoid differences between shipments of the same variety and also work on promotional aspects.

Source: Comite del kiwi

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