As Chinese consumption of bananas catches up with the rest of the world, Chinese importers are expanding the areas from which they source their fruit. Goodfarmer, one of the country's largest importers of bananas, has recently responded to robust demand with plans to increase the amount of fruit they import from Ecuador.
“In 2014, we will import almost 100,000 tons for the year,” said Owen Zhang, general manager of Banana Business Department for Goodfarmer. “Almost 60 percent comes from the Philippines, 39 percent from Ecuador and the rest from Indonesia. But we will do more from Ecuador in the future, because this is only the first year we imported from Ecuador.” He noted that average annual consumption of bananas is just over nine kilograms per individual in the rest of the world, and though it's only five kilograms per individual in China, consumption of bananas in his country is growing.

“Chinese people are increasingly richer and their consumption habits are slowly changing,” explained Zhang. “They need more fresh fruit, like bananas, because of the health benefits of fruit. So we see that not only banana consumption is increasing, but consumption of all fruit is increasing.” He explained that some of the low production seen in recent years can be attributed to unfavourable weather and sub-optimal management techniques rather than any response to lagging demand.

Goodfarmer is fast becoming one of the most recognized banana brands in China, behind Dole. He credits a solid infrastructure and a good sales force as the reasons for that distinction. His sales teams in Dalian, Shenyang, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have worked hard to earn the trust of their customers to the extent that most of the people they deal with offer to pre-pay for their fruit as a matter of course. That trust has been built on a track record of consistent results.

“We have modern ripening rooms that cover almost all of the areas in Eastern China, and we're planning facilities that will cover the middle of the country in the next two or three years,” said Zhang. “We have our own cold chain logistical team in every distribution centre along with help from professional third parties.” Going forward, Zhang said they'll focus on maintaining consistent supplies of fruit for a hungry market, all the while maintaining a high level of quality.
“In the future, I think we have big opportunities for importing bananas in China,” said Zhang. “We've already started to supply Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Auchan, Metro, Vanguard and some of the biggest nationwide fruit chain shops and fruit stores.”
Contact details:
Owen Zhang
Banana Business Department
Goodfarmer Foods (Shanghai) Co.,Ltd
T:+86 -21-59804175
F:+86 -21-59804198