The Chinese have fallen in love with Mzansi’s table grapes following the official launch of a promotional campaign at a leading market in Guangzhou, the country’s leading port.
The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) this week also celebrated the start of its 2021 table grape season in China.
Grown by Mzansi’s export-oriented master horticulturalists, the Chinese now have easy access to premium quality varieties grown in, among others, the Western Cape.
Discerning Chinese market
According to SATI, traders and consumers in China are set to benefit from the brand-new “China specification”. This was exclusively developed to ensure the best possible South African table grapes are provided to the highly discerning market.
SATI partnered with leading Chinese fresh fruit importer and distributor Goodfarmer to stage this week’s celebration, which took place both on a main stage and with ancillary activities throughout the Jiangnonghui Fruit Wholesale market.
Freshly imported shipments of South African Crimson Seedless, Sweet Globe, Sweet Sapphire and Sweet Joy table grapes from importers Rui Ocean Co. Ltd. and Berda Fruit Co. Ltd. were featured as part of the celebration.
In a media release SATI furthermore describes the Lion Awakening Ceremony as an event highlight. This represented the ties between Mzansi’s table grapes and the Chinese fruit industry through the imagery of a lion, which is both an important cultural icon in China and symbolises South Africa’s world-renowned wildlife resources.
South Africa is already a leading global exporter of fresh fruit. However, historically Europe has been the main destination for its fruit exports. The promotional campaign launched by SATI reflects the China market’s growing importance.
‘Beautiful country, beautiful fruit’
“SATI is proud and excited to launch its first ever South African table grapes market development campaign in China,” said Willem Bestbier, chief executive of SATI.
“This campaign brings together specially selected growers and exporters from our beautiful and diverse country and renowned importers, wholesale markets, the trade and retail in China. The aim is to showcase South African table grapes that are truly worthy of the campaign slogan ‘Beautiful country, beautiful fruit.’”
Eric Zheng, general manager of Shanghai-based Goodfarmer Apple said, “South Africa is a beautiful country with a unique geography and climate well-suited to cultivating premium quality fruits, of which its fresh, sweet, juicy and crisp table grapes are among the best.”
Zheng added that Goodfarmer remained committed to providing consumers with “healthy, delicious fruit and vegetable products through our network of distribution centres and wholesale market sales centres covering 26 provincial capitals across China.
“We look forward to working with SATI and our other partners to give more consumers in China access to fresh, delicious and healthy South African grapes.”
Currently, more than 90% of South Africa’s table grape production is seedless.
The diverse growing conditions make it possible to cultivate a broad range of mostly new generation table grape varieties.
Fit for market requirements
SATI has developed a range of initiatives and marketing assets to support its new China campaign, which will continue over coming seasons in the form of educational events, trade outreach, retail promotions and more.
These include a Chinese-language campaign logo, a dedicated website and newsletter, and Chinese-language promotional materials. The campaign is being delivered in partnership with the Western Cape department of agriculture, the key table grape growing region of South Africa.
It also enjoys the support of the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum.
SATI representatives have been visiting China often in recent years to listen and learn from both traders and consumers to grow a product that suits the market requirements.
“The objective is continuous improvement towards a quality, safe and healthy product exhibiting excellent eating quality – juicy, sweet and crunchy table grapes for Chinese consumers to enjoy,” said Bestbier.
“This will be achieved in a long term and mutually beneficial partnership and our commitment to the Chinese market. We wish everybody a successful campaign, enjoy our table grapes and we warmly invite you to engage with us on this exciting journey.”