A marketing consortium of nine major Italian produce companies has officially launched its Sweeki kiwifruit brand in the Chinese market, amid ambitions for it to become a ‘very familiar’ name among consumers in the near future.
The launch took place on Jan. 6 at Guangzhou’s Jiangnan Wholesale Market, where Origine Group positioned the fruit alongside other famous Italian products like sports cars, luxury fashion goods and premium olive oil.
“Italy is known in the world not only for sport Ferrari cars, for Fashion—Gucci, Bulgari, Tod’s—or for football teams, but also for foods,” Origine Group general manager Alessio Orlandi said.
“In the same land where we produce many of the best wines in the world, in the same land where we produce the famous olive oil, we also produce kiwifruit.”
Another speaker at the event, trade commissioner of the Italian Trade Agency in Guangzhou, Paolo Quattrocchi, also highlighted the theme of Italian products’ excellence.
“As everybody knows well, ‘Made in Italy’ is a very famous brand in the world,” he said.
“Just as food, wine, fashion and furniture, Italian kiwis are also one of best products. We are the second biggest kiwi producer in the world and the biggest kiwi producer [and exporter] in Europe.”
He also noted that Italy currently exported US$470 million worth of the winter fruit annually.
Origine Group created the Sweeki brand in 2015 with its eye on export markets, especially in the Middle East and Asia. To match consumer preferences in these areas, sweeter flavored varietals are being used.
According to Quattrocchi, China is the third-largest market for Italian kiwifruit after Europe and the U.S.
The first container of Sweeki fruit was imported by Global Andes and sold via the Jiangnan Wholesale Market – one of the most important distribution points for fresh fruit entering China.
Jiangnan Wholesale Market general manager Ye Canjiang also spoke at the event, highlighting the market’s strategic importance in transporting and selling imported fresh fruit in China.
He said he hoped to see more varieties of Sweeki kiwifruit coming through the market in the future and stated his desire for it to cooperate with other high-end European fruit producers to introduce their products to China.
More containers of the fruit are already on the way to Guangzhou and Shanghai, and Origine Group is planning to start a retail promotional campaign in partnership with mainland supermarkets.
“I know that everyone here is an expert and key player in the Chinese fruit industry,” Orlandi told the assembled audience at the launch event.
“I wish that Sweeki, through kiwi promotional activities like this one, and through your activities, will become in a short time a very familiar brand among Chinese consumers.”
Origine Group was founded August 2015 and consists of companies with a total turnover of about €800 million (US$846 million).