"We import from and cooperate with farms in different countries to jointly develop markets. The farms are managed according to their own strict standards which are defined by the growers. We brand the high-quality harvests and import them into Europe and Asia," says Allen Wang, a representative from Aartsen Asia, when speaking to FreshPlaza. Allen and his colleagues are responsible for Aartsen's business in the Chinese market.
Aartsen is an international importer of fresh fruits and vegetables with a particular focus on brand management. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in the Netherlands, the company has a history of more than 100 years. Aartsen cooperates with more than 650 farms of multiple origins around the world to deliver high-quality harvests to customers in Europe and Asia.
"Aartsen Asia’s customer markets in Asia include Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and many more; a total of more than 16 countries. Our imports come from North America, South America, Europe, Australia, South Africa, China and various other regions. Our products include citrus, grapes, cherries, blueberries and many other product types. You name it we handle it. Aartsen attaches great importance to the establishment of the grower brands and its own brands (which are divided by country of origin) and its strategy to market them. The company has a number of own brands, and the cooperative farms must meet the quality requirements before using the brand, to achieve mutual benefit.”
"In the Chinese market, Aartsen has five own brands. In Europe and other countries in Asia we use various other brands too. Our well-known brands in the Chinese market include Grandezza, Okuku, NB10, Mamba, and Lipzz. There are also several brands in the Asian market, such as Tooty, Capito, Uno, etc. Among them, the Grandezza brand covers blueberries, cherries, Peruvian mangoes, grapes from Peru, Australia and Chile, but also different kinds of exotics.
"Another brand, Okuku, includes New Zealand cherries, Australian grapes, etc. Different brands are used according to different farms and different product characteristics. Our customers in China are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and northwest, southwest, and northeast China. Each brand has 1-2 customers in each city, and we arrange different product categories according to customer characteristics to achieve the best results", continues Allen.
"In addition, we also have a brand Mamba in South Africa, which mainly carries South African oranges, lemons, grapes, blueberries, stone fruit, apples, pears and other fruits for distribution in Asia. Meanwhile, Aartsen also distributes fruits and vegetables produced in China. This includes grapes to some countries in Asia and garlic, ginger, chestnuts and pears from Asia to Europe."
In recent years, the global pandemic has affected the trade and consumption of fruits. Against this background, Aartsen adjusted its market strategy in China. Allen mentioned that, taking the adjustment in the Chinese market as an example, at first the company focused on developing the primary wholesale market and second tier markets. Now now it is actively expanding more channels, including working together with large supermarkets such as Carrefour, JD.com, Tmall, ALDI, etc. online e-commerce, fruit retail stores such as Pagoda, and the development of smaller wholesale markets more into the west of China.
Allen is confident about the prospects of the Chinese market, "The Chinese market is huge and the consumption power is strong. With our strong position in the market we will benefit together with our partners from that. For another, I believe that China will develop more high-quality fruits in the future and export them to more countries.”
Aartsen's employees in charge of the Asian market are based in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai, and they are respectively connected to the markets of different countries. Their work content includes channel development, customer docking, product promotion, follow-up sales, etc. "From the very beginning of Aartsen Asia, we have had a clear plan and vision for the company's future. After I joined the company many years ago, I worked with Aartsen Asia's managing director and the team to move towards our goal step by step. For example, we have had plans for our brand strategy, channel development, etc., and as employees, we can also see a clear direction." Allen added: "That works very well".