"First Brazilian 'Dino' muskmelons will reach China in early December"

Last year, Brazil obtained permission to export melons to the Chinese market. Chinese importers were curious but hesitant, and the overall import volume was not large. Now the new season has begun and Brazilian exporters have already dispatched the first Brazilian melons to China, which will arrive by early December. Kevin Au Yeung from RK Growers Srl talked about the potential of the Brazilian melon and future trends in the Chinese market.

Brazilian 'Dino' Melons

Kevin first talked about RK Growers Srl’s involvement in the Brazilian melon business. "We have been working together with Agricola Famosa from Brazil in the European market for many years. To extend this successful cooperation in Europe, Famosa decided to work together with RK Growers as their representative in Asia, in their expansion into the Asia market. Famosa is the largest exporter of Brazilian melons, exporting huge volumes annually around the world. This year, Famosa exported their first container of melons to China, and Dole China was responsible for the repackaging, promotion, and distribution of Brazilian melons which will be sold in Sam's Club China. The focus this season will be on promoting Famosa’s exclusive Brazilian melon variety 'Dino'. Dole imported a trial container last season and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the market. This year the first container of 'Dino' melons is expected to arrive in early December."

The start of the Brazilian melon export to the Chinese market proceeded with some difficulty last season. Product movement for some Brazilian melon varieties was slower than expected, and some Chinese importers decided to halt imports after some initial trial. Kevin explained: " Objectively speaking,  the pandemic had a devastating effect on the overall import fruits demand in China last season. The sales conditions and movement for many import fruit categories were less than ideal. The Brazilian melon is a premium fruit and was sold at a premium price because some of the melons arrived via air-freight, which increases the end cost of the Brazilian melons significantly. Moreover, the purchasing power of Chinese consumers had been stagnant during the outbreak of Covid-19 and so there was not enough consumer demand to stimulate the sales of Brazilian melons. That is why we chose to do the trial with 'Dino' melons last season. This variety can endure sea freight well and is a perfect match for the Chinese market in terms of price, flavor, Brix level, and product quality. This is also the feedback we got from distributors and consumers alike."

Employees carefully inspect the 'Dino' muskmelons on the packaging line

"Brazilian melons only have an export window of a few months to Asia. From October until late January or early February. When the rainy season starts in Brazil, the export to Asia ends. Famosa will not be able to export large volumes of 'Dino' melons to the Chinese market this season. First, because Famosa wishes to gain a greater understanding of the Chinese market conditions and the brand positioning before reassessment. Second, the outbreak of Covid-19 is still serious in Brazil and that has an impact on domestic transport from inland production areas to the seaports. Third, the global shipping crisis has pushed the freight prices of cargo to new heights. In addition, shipping times are often delayed and there is a shortage of refrigerated shipping containers. All of these conditions add to the challenge of the Brazilian melons export to the Chinese market. In other words, the Chinese market demand for ‘Dino’ melon is robust, but Famosa has to weigh this against the conditions in Brazil and the export market condition in general. In the end, the number of ‘Dino’ melons that Famosa will export to China this season will depend on all the conditions mentioned above. Famosa hopes to supply the Chinese consumers with premium melons in optimum condition and not to rush for short-term sales turnover," said Kevin.

When asked about the market potential of 'Dino' melons in China, Kevin replied: "First, the arrival time of Brazilian melons coincides with the low production period of the domestic melons. Only a small volume of Hainan melons is still available this time of the year. The supply of Brazilian melons perfectly supplements a gap in the domestic supply season. Second, only a small number of countries have permission to supply the Chinese market, including Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Brunei, and Brazil. Myanmar primarily supplies large volumes of average quality melons to China. The other three countries struggle with transport and product quality, with only small volumes shipped to the Chinese market. This provides a great opportunity for the Brazilian 'Dino' melons in the Chinese market. The 'Dino' melon variety has a unique appearance and flavor that can satisfy Chinese consumers looking for unique melons with quality and flavor."

An employee tastes the Brazilian 'Dino' muskmelon 

"Chinese retailers are eager to try the Brazilian 'Dino' melon, but wholesalers still had their reservations. I think that importers and exporters will have to patiently cultivate the market in China to increase Chinese consumers' awareness and understanding of the Brazilian 'Dino' melon," said Kevin.

For more information:

Kevin Au Yeung - Asian Market Manager

RK Growers Srl / Omnifresh™

E-mail: Kevin.auyeung@rkg.it 

Website: www.rkg.it 

Website: www.omnifreshco.com 

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