Halls are a global fresh produce supplier created in 1890. As one of the world's leading avocado suppliers, Halls are active across the complete fresh produce value chain - specializing in the growing, sourcing, packing, ripening, distribution, and marketing of avocados and other specialised produce with farms and partners located across Africa.
Lifan Yu joined the company in 2018 and in 2019 the office in China was established, complementing the six European operations that Halls have. Lifan comments: “It was a big step for the company to open a new branch in Asia, but it was clear as part of our long-term strategy that the Asian markets, especially China, would become increasingly important in the sales of avocados over the next decade. We have been incredibly pleased with the first few years and our sales are rapidly growing as customers are looking for an expert in avocados that are supplying and value adding the fruit 365 days a year. ”
“We source from different production countries to supply the Chinese market and currently South African avocados cannot be exported but we hopefully expect them to be granted access in the summer of 2023. Therefore, we source from approved countries including Chile, Peru, New Zealand and Mexico using our Halls ‘Responsibly Sourced Network’ of global partners who are carefully selected.
"This year we started our supply programme with Kenya, who have finally received market access into China. We organized a first air-freight shipment back in June straight from our partner Kakuzi, Kenya, to China. We have planned for sea-freight shipments for the rest of the year which will arrive for October and November sales, in a period where we feel the market will have limited Chilean avocados.”
The Chinese market clearly needs more supply and more options as it is essential that the consumers can purchase avocados 365 days a year at affordable prices so we can continue to increase the consumption. Currently, the market has periods of undersupply and oversupply and a more consistent availability of quality fruit with the correct dry matter content is essential to ensure we encourage repeat purchases because they have a great taste experience.
“Too much focus has been put on the external look of the avocado, but we do not eat the skin and it is the amazing taste of the avocado that will grow the demand in Asia.
”The avocado is the most versatile fruit in how it can be eaten from salads to soups to guacamole. Kenya and South Africa are perfectly positioned to bridge these gaps in supply and offer very high-quality standards. Therefore, Lifan sees Kenya and South Africa as valuable additions to current sourcing markets: “Transit times from South America to Asia can be long. Kenya and South Africa are well positioned to supply the, every growing, Asian consumption markets. From Africa to Asia, most of the shipments will be less than 35 days.”
Halls China carefully selected service providers and ripening facilities in Guangzhou, Shanghai, and other major Chinese cities to help them introduce the fruit. “As a company we now focus on China’s Tier 1 cities, but our outlook is on the whole country. Avocados are already popular in most of China’s major cities. The next big step will be to let more people experience and understand this fruit and solve the cold chain logistic problems of moving the crop from Tier 1 to Tier 2 and 3 cities; to be able to offer ready-to-eat avocados across China. The sales outlook for the next months look very strong.”
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