2023 Global Cherry Summit focuses on productivity, trade, and logistics
With 950 participants, the 2023 Global Cherry Summit was held on Thursday, April 20. The successful event gathered members of the international cherry industry, with representatives from 12 countries and teams from 300 companies in the sector.
The meeting was held at the Monticello Conference Center in San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile. It was organized by Yentzen Group and the Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, ASOEX.
The number of attendees for this year’s Global Cherry Summit reaffirms that it is one of the most demanded and exciting events in the fruit sector, thanks to the variety of subjects addressed and the level of exhibitors, which year after year encourages participation of exporters, importers, traders, retailers, researchers, and industry consultants.
During the inauguration, Ivan Marambio, president of ASOEX, emphasized the need to consolidate the Chilean cherry industry, which now has practically no major competition, covering more than 90% of the export market.
However, Marambio said that "We must be alert, the same thing that happened to Chilean grapes and blueberries cannot happen to us, we must continue to invest in the product and its promotion, we ask the government and the state to promote the Chile brand, all success is based on what our country represents, we must seek attributes for our fruit."
It should be recalled that according to data from the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex), the 2022-23 export season for fresh Chilean cherries ended with a new record volume of 415,315 tons, which represents a 17% growth year-on-year.
Cherries have been one of the fastest-growing fruits in Chile and the world in the last decade. The USDA's September 2022 report projected that world cherry production would exceed 220,000 tons to 4.7 million in 2022-23, due to increased production in Turkey and Chile.
Opportunities for cherries in the future
"Our sector faces relevant challenges at a productive, logistic, commercial, and promotional level. The high volumes of exports make us keep working and although we represent 97% of exports to China, we do have competition: Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand," said Claudia Soler, executive director of the ASOEX Cherry Committee.
Soler explained that some of the Chilean challenges are to have access to new markets, labor, freight, and taking advantage of limitations that some competitors have to grow because they have limited areas, while others have difficulties with climate conditions, or generating a large size fruit.
She also emphasized that producers should work to achieve good product quality, try to generate a faster sale of the fruit, overcomes the gaps in sizes - XL and J are going down - and not depend only on the three weeks prior to the Chinese New Year to get the best prices, when 64% of the volume traded is currently sold.
The United States from a marketing perspective
Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), explained some of the strategies they are implementing to promote the fruit in America.
Currently, the focus is on increasing the volume placed in the U.S. market. The strategy is to implement marketing programs in retail with a direct target to consumers through public relations, advertising, education to potential buyers, presence in regional fairs, and promotions in magazines such as Vision Magazine, newspapers, and other news outlets of the fruit sector.
"We do not want to miss promotional opportunities such as Valentine's Day, February Cherry Month in the United States. This is why we are working more closely with brands from different regional stores to attract the attention of the retail trade. We also need to be attractive at points of sale, and social media platforms by using influencers in Tik Tok along with radio campaigns, as we have done in various U.S. cities," Brux added.
Focus on new consumers
Marcial Hernandez-Manzano, Director of South America Imports at Pacific Trellis Fruit, emphasized the need to captivate the North American market, with more than 330 million inhabitants, which has a huge potential to encourage the consumption of the fruit.
He added that the keys to achieving greater commercial movement and domestic volume are to have more ADS, promotion,s and marketing campaigns.
Packaging is another important factor because it must offer transparency of who handles the fruit and where it's coming from.
Hernandez also highlighted the importance of logistics, making sure that the fruit arrives in time.
"Last season the first ship arrived on December 21, which is late, the ideal is December 15, it took 10 days to move that fruit with approximately 400 thousand boxes, the challenge is to put earlier fruit and focus on the jumbo fruit more."