Driscoll's aims to triple China berry business over next five years

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Driscoll's aims to triple China berry business over next five years

US-headquartered berry company Driscoll's is planning to triple its business in China over the next five years, a local news organization cited a senior company executive as saying.

The growth plans come as a growing number of affluent families in the country are pursuing nutritious and healthy dining habits, China Daily reports.

While the volume of the company's fruits harvested in China-blueberries, raspberries and blackberries-grew from 500 metric tons (MT) in 2016 to around 10,000MT last year, the company aims to triple that number by 2025 in light of the "huge consumption potential", Jae Moon Chun, Driscoll's vice-president and general manager in China, was quoted as saying.

"What we see as a macro trend, especially among the young, is (the desire) to have some form of health incorporated in their lives," he told the publication.

Whereas annual berry consumption in developed economies like the U.S. is significantly higher on a per capita basis, Chun said the figure in China among middle and upper-income groups reaches only about one clamshell, which in Driscoll's case refers to around 125 grams.

"Over time, China potentially can be as big as, if not bigger than, the biggest fresh berry market in the world, which currently is the United States," he was quoted as saying, adding that China has registered the fastest growth across four regional markets including North America, Europe and Australia.

The typical customer profile for Driscoll's is female aged between 25 and 40 years old, who is keen on wholesome foods that have health benefits and taste good.

Chun said that the rise of e-commerce and other digital channels has also lent a helping hand in popularizing berries among local consumers, given that the fruits are traditionally more commonplace in retailer marketplaces in the West.

"While first-tier city residents have more exposure by traveling more internationally, and they have more foreigners who typically know about these brands… I see more commonalities of consumers across all city tiers: expect high-quality fruits," he said.

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