JD shows consumer demand for imported fruit and fresh produce is increasing

Employees pack Chilean cherries at a packing center in Shanghai. [Photo/Xinhua]

Fresh food specialist JD Fresh, a branch of e-commerce giant JD, is stepping up efforts to import Chilean cherries and other fresh produce as a growing number of Chinese consumers spend more on high-quality foreign products.

The company has signed cooperation agreements with four of Chile’s top exporters for direct sourcing of high-quality Chilean cherries, which are among the most popular imported products among Chinese consumers.

China is the world’s largest export market for Chilean cherries. About 92% of Chilean cherries exported land in China, said Luis Schmidt Montes, Chile’s ambassador to China.

He noted that Chile is the first country in South America to establish a virtual national pavilion on JD. The online space offers around 30 Chilean brands in categories such as wine, salmon, olive oil, honey, mashed fruit, seafood, and fresh fruits like cherries.

JD Fresh said it will directly purchase more than 1.8 million 5-kilogram boxes of Chilean cherries by the end of 2022. Global sales are expected to exceed 1 billion yuan ($ 157 million), thanks to continuous improvement of JD’s direct sourcing abroad. chain.

At the end of November, the cherry trading volume on JD climbed 200% year-on-year. JD Fresh’s cherry sales reached nearly 500 million yuan in the 2020 season.

The popularity of high-end imported fruits can be attributed to rising disposable income and health awareness among Chinese consumers. The value of imported fruit to China reached $ 12 billion in the January-October period, up 33.5 percent year-on-year, according to the China Food Import and Export Chamber of Commerce, indigenous products and animal by-products.

“We will continue to focus on overseas direct sourcing and the upstream supply chain to bring Chinese consumers top quality fresh produce such as Chilean cherries, durian and black tiger shrimp from Thailand. and salmon from Norway, ”said Zhou Xiaozhou, general manager of fruits. and the vegetable purchasing division at JD Fresh.

Zhou said the company will further improve its supply chain model, cold chain equipment and the entire logistics system. JD Fresh has high standards for fresh produce to ensure quality control from the outset. Zhou added that an important factor in choosing exporters for direct sourcing is their size, capacity and willingness to work with JD Fresh.

JD has implemented several measures on specifications, net weight and packaging to strictly guarantee the quality of imported cherries.

The company also improved its inspection of imported fresh produce in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to having a QR code for tracking, each batch of cherries can only be admitted to the JD warehouse if they have a COVID-19 nucleic acid test report, inspection certificate and quarantine for incoming goods and a disinfection report.

Chinese consumers are looking for high-quality lifestyles and want to purchase premium imported fresh produce as well as improvements in consumption, said Chen Tao, analyst at Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys.

“However, their demand for fruit and other fresh produce could not be met, especially in autumn and winter, due to geographic and climatic constraints. Some cross-border e-commerce platforms have seized the opportunity to offer more seasonal fruits from the southern hemisphere to meet the needs of Chinese buyers, ”Chen said.

Data from the consulting firm iResearch showed that China’s fresh produce trade volume reached 458.5 billion yuan in 2020, up 64 percent year-on-year. The figure is expected to climb to 670.5 billion yuan this year, representing huge market potential.

Chen is optimistic about the outlook for the imported fresh produce market, which is expected to experience robust growth despite the effects of the pandemic. In addition, more efforts should be made to monitor the relevant customs inspection and quarantine, and adopt more stringent disinfection measures to ensure the safety of imported fresh produce and address consumer concerns.

Cao Lei, director of the Internet Economy Institute, a consultancy firm, noted that online retailers should step up efforts in building cold chain logistics and increase investment in supply chains to ensure the superior quality of their products.

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