U.S. pears surpass expectations in China

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U.S. pears surpass expectations in China

Although a new market for U.S. pears, China has already exceeded expectations for the North American fruit. With two months of shipments remaining, U.S. pear volume in China has surpassed the initial estimate of 150,000 boxes, reaching 160,000 to date.conference pears ffp

By season's end, this largely-unfamiliar product in China could reach 175,000 boxes, said Jeff Correa, USA Pears international marketing director.

"China has proven to be a very good market for USA Pears. We have been pleasantly surprised by the early volumes of Starkrimsons (around 30,000 boxes) to China.  Despite being a more delicate pear variety, this variety sold very profitably in China," Correa told www.freshfruitportal.com.

Entering the Chinese market, Correa said USA Pears anticipated challenges due to the general lack of familiarity with Western-style pears, which vary from firmer Asian varieties.

"In terms of the nuances of the Chinese consumers, we expected that the main consumption area would be North/East China (around Beijing and Dalian).  This is where China produces some of their Western pear varieties and consumers are more familiar with our varieties in those metro areas," Correa said.

"However, at the same time we had good success shipping pears to Shanghai and Guangzhou this season too and retailers and consumers alike are becoming more familiar with our varieties and more confident in handling them."

USA Pears had planned a road show in China to promote the fruit. The marketing campaign was postponed, however, due to coordination issues. Instead, the marketing body was able to carry out in-store promotions and online sales.

"The Pear Bureau conducted a well-rounded promotional program that focused on in-store promotions with a range of retailers to get them to carry the pears and then help sell the pears to their consumers. The in-store activities included sampling and POS material support.  The in-store promotions will continue to be the focus of our program as this is the most important outreach to both retailers and consumers," he said.

USA Pears has provided additional educational support to distributors on how to handle the Western-style fruit.

"Storage and handling training in another key activity.  We conducted a range of retail handling seminars to educate the retailers on how to handle USA Pears and the difference between USA Pears and Chinese pears.  We will be launching our online training program in China next season which should extend the reach of the number of people we can educate about pear handling," he said.

Across all markets, Correa said U.S. pear exports are up 3%, despite larger sizing that complicated shipments.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com


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