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From honey oranges to Donghai oranges

China: Donghai oranges' branding a success

Since the end of October, one brand of oranges has been selling particularly well at the import market of Shanghai. "We sell one to two full pallets a day. When you take a closer look, you find it's not all imported brands. Instead, the oranges are produced in Linhai, not far from Shanghai". 

"Donghai oranges is a brand we created for the Yongquan honey oranges, a Gongchuan variety of seedless honey oranges. The production region is located in Linhai in Zhejiang province, a place that has always had a reputation for its good honey oranges. Yongquan is a village near Linhai city," explains Mr. Zhou, the brand marketing partner for the East China region.

Linhai city has 12,000 hectares of orange cultivation surface, that goes all the way from the coast to the mountainous region. The yearly production volume can reach 230,000 tons. "Even though we have a large production volume, it is still considered to be a small-scale product compared to the other oranges that are harvested in the same season. Moreover, we only produce honey oranges in Yongquan to guarantee the quality. When we only produce in this small region, the total production amount is even smaller."

"The packaging standard of imported products"
When you open a package of Donghai oranges, you can see that every orange is packed in a foam net and ordered in a neat row. This is distinctly different from the ordinary loose packaging of oranges. 

"Usually, oranges produced in China are packaged loosely in a cardboard box or in a plastic case. But we don't do that with our honey oranges. The main reason is the thin peel of the Yongquan oranges. The foam net effectively safeguards the quality of every orange. Even though that means a higher packaging cost than with the traditional method. The better packaging improves the quality as a whole for the product. Middle-end and high-end supermarkets, as well as chain stores, have a definite preference for this kind of packaging. They see it as a symbol of quality. The consumers think the same thing. If the product isn't good, then why would you spend so much effort to package it?"

"In order to make the oranges look even more beautiful, we spend a lot of effort on separating the oranges according to quality. This year, we invested in a selection line and a packaging installation in Yongquan. It separates the oranges according to size in 5 categories, ready for the market. At the same time, we also brought out 4.75 kg and 2.5 kg bags for wholesale markets, supermarkets and fruit chain stores. An even more accurate selection and packaging helps boost sales."

"Brands help spread the product further"

"The brand of Donghai oranges was created last year. But last year we sold mainly to the Shanghai market. Altogether we made 20,000 cases. But three weeks after the season started this year, we had already exceeded the 20,000 milestone with many honey oranges going beyond the Shanghai district all the way to Beijing, Canton, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Xi'an, Shenyang and other large markets. In that process, the brand of our Donghai oranges played a very important role."

"Before us, there were other honey orange brands. But those brands either didn't get any recognition from the consumers or they didn't last when they did. So from the first stage when we created the brand, we persevered on two fronts. First of all, the brand had to sound well and be clear so it was easy to remember for the consumers, and especially to leave an impression with young people. Secondly, there had to be promotional events to create a firm recognition of the public."

Mr. Zhou (left) at an event with the Donghai oranges

"At the end of October our first batch of honey oranges reached the Shanghai market. We organised an event where everyone could taste what we brought to the market. That way, old customers knew that the Donghai oranges were going on sale and at the same time we gave a lasting impression to potential customers.The result of this event was very good. The first pallet wasn't enough, so many customers made a preorder for the 2016 honey orange season."

Having only entered the fruit industry three years ago, Mr. Zhou and his team have already taken part in the plans for net pattern melons, Xiuwen kiwis, Donghai oranges and similar high-quality fruit brands with small quantities. He says that "the fruit market is already very different from the past. On one side, there is a huge volume of fruit that is imported, so fruit produced in China faces fierce competition. Also, consumers have a demand for high quality fruit, packaging and branding that is continuously increasing. The production of fruit in China is being standardised and going toward an inevitable trend of branding. Next to large traditional fields like apples, pears, etc., China also has a very unique range of special small-scale local products. Through a fitting promotional procedure, these products won't just satisfy the differing demands of consumers, but they will also easily show their worth on a market that is being diversified."

For more information about Donghai oranges,

Mr. Zhou
Telephone: 18100780058
Email: [email protected]

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