A New Record for Chinese Blueberry Consumers Awareness Amid ASOEX Campaign

The awareness rate of blueberries among Chinese consumers has reached an all-time high of 71% led by strong growth in awareness in third-tier cities, according to recent survey data from global market research firm Nielson. This survey finding was shared by representatives of the Chilean Blueberry Committee of the Chilean Association of Fruit Exporters (ASOEX) during a March 5 webinar titled “End 2020-2021 Chilean Blueberry Season Summary ».

Charif Christian Carvajal, ASOEX Marketing Director for Europe and Asia, and Freya Huang, China Marketing Coordinator, delivered the seminar to members of the Produce Report WeChat community.

“Nielson has been tracking and analyzing consumer awareness and blueberry market performance in China for the past six years,” Huang said during his presentation. “In January, Nielson released the results of its latest survey of 3.010 consumers in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. This data revealed that blueberry awareness among Chinese consumers has reached a new high of 71%. The rise in awareness was most pronounced in third-tier cities, where the rate grew to 66%, a 15% increase from the previous year."

Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries were rare in China just a few decades ago. But the consumption of berries has increased dramatically in recent years along with increased consumer purchasing power and greater awareness of their nutritional properties.

The Chilean Blueberry Committee has been one of the most active parties in stimulating blueberry consumption in China through its annual promotional campaigns. Chilean blueberries are available in China from September to early March, with volumes peaking in late January or early February during the lead-up to the Chinese New Year holidays.

One of the key activities of this year's Chilean blueberry campaign in China was a cross-promotion with the Element Fresh restaurant chain, which focuses on fresh and healthy fusion cuisine. The promotion ran in 37 stores in seven cities and was also featured on Element Fresh's social media channels.

Materials used as part of the Blueberries from Chile and Element Fresh cross promotion.

During the 2021 season, Chilean blueberries were also promoted in China by more than 30 different key opinion leaders on popular social media platforms such as Red, WeChat, and Weibo. In addition, the Chilean blueberry season was widely covered by several major media outlets, as well as commercial media in the fruit industry.

Cities where the Chilean Blueberry Committee carried out promotions in stores during 2020/21.

 

In terms of offline promotion, the Chilean Blueberry Committee this season partnered with major retailers including CenturyMart, Hema, 7Fresh, Ole, Sam's Club and Walmart to hold in-store sessions in 45 stores covering 18 cities. The committee also held a series of events and workshops at the wholesale fruit markets in Jiaxing, Zhengzhou, Chongqing and Changsha.

Overall, as of March 5, Chile's global blueberry exports for the 2020/21 season were expected to register a year-on-year increase of about 6%, according to data shared by ASOEX during the seminar. Through week 7, Chile's total blueberry exports stood at 115,716 tons, compared to 109,269 tons last season.

The overall increase in Chilean fresh blueberry exports to the world is attributable to strong growth in exports to North America and Europe. Export volumes to Asia, on the other hand, fell 27% compared to last year, led by a 46% drop in export volumes to China.

“Last season there was a lot of volume of Chilean blueberries entering the Chinese market and we saw relatively low prices in the market, as well as a low turnover,” Carvajal said. "This year, among exporters and importers they decided to be a little more cautious in terms of shipping product to China, and that translated into a better season in terms of price and product movement."

Even with the course correction in terms of volumes this year, the Chilean Blueberry Committee remains optimistic about the long-term growth prospects for Chilean blueberries in China.

“Whether they are blueberries from Chile or other origins, at the end of the day, we all have the same objective of increasing the consumption of imported blueberries during the Chilean season,” said Carvajal. “Today, the level of per capita consumption is relatively low in China. What we have to do is increase consumption among Chinese consumers more. We are very happy with the information we have seen published by Nielsen that shows that awareness of Chilean blueberries and blueberries in general is increasing in China, but we still have many opportunities to grow in second, third and possibly fourth place. level cities «.

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