Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA powers ahead

ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA powers ahead

Annual trade fair and congress event records surge in visitor numbers

Hong Kong, 13 September 2011: ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA attracted almost a third more visitors from across the world to Hong Kong last week, confirming its status as the must-attend trade event for the fresh fruit and vegetable business in Asia.

Over 5,300 visitors from 63 different countries attended the three-day event, which took place on 7-9 September at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibitor Centre (HKCEC). Those figures marked an impressive 28 per cent growth on last year’s visitor numbers.

“We’re delighted to see the very strong growth in the number of buyers and trade visitors who attended – and more importantly the continued high quality of these visitors,” said Gérald Lamusse, managing director of event organiser Global Produce Events GmbH.

Official survey results revealed that almost three-quarters of all visitors held leading management positions in their companies, and that more than 90 per cent of them were involved in the purchasing and procurement decision-making process.

The majority of visitors were trade buyers representing leading importers and retailers from across Asia’s burgeoning consumer markets as well as from Europe, the Middle East and the US. And they found an exhibition that had also expanded significantly.

Some 332 companies from 33 different countries showcased their products and services at this year’s ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, marking increases of 9 per cent and 10 per cent respectively on last year’s figures.

Since it was first launched in 2007 with 116 exhibitors, ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA has seen its exhibitor numbers grow by 186 per cent.

Companies and organisations from 12 countries across Asia again accounted for the largest percentage of exhibitors this year (36 per cent), with China remaining the largest single exhibitor country in terms of exhibitor numbers (77 exhibitors).

The European presence was also very strong, with 10 different countries from the region together making up 27 per cent of exhibitors. Italy, in particular, recorded a strong growth in the number of companies taking part. The 28 exhibitors from Italy were enough to see the country overtake the US (with 26 exhibitors) to become the second-largest national presence at the show.

This year’s ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA also saw the first national pavilion from Egypt – one of many country pavilions at the show that also included Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, France, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.

“In summary, this fifth edition of ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA mirrored the strong growth in the Asian fresh produce business and underlined its position as the must-attend event for the region,” said Mr Lamusse.

The dynamic growth of the Asian fresh produce market was also highlighted by this year’s Asiafruit Congress, which attracted 576 delegates from 36 different countries. The three-day conference, which has been organised by Asiafruit Magazine for almost 15 years, runs alongside ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA.

The Asiafruit Congress kicked off with a high-powered retail panel involving senior executives from Tesco, Wellcome/Dairy Farm Hong Kong, Metro Cash & Carry and Central Food Retail. The following five conference sessions covered a range of themes, many of which explored opportunities for new and emerging products or concepts in Asian markets, such as fresh-cut produce, Pink Lady apples and logistics solutions. A supplier spotlight on Peru also provided an engaging insight to the possibilities for this rising South American export force in the Asian markets.

“It was clear from our conference discussions that the marketing environment in Asia is evolving very quickly and becoming more conducive to developing different products and concepts from all over the world,” said John Hey, editor of Asiafruit Magazine. “Understanding these markets and their changing requirements, and forging the right relationships backed by a committed approach, are key to success. The Asiafruit Congress combines with ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA to provide the industry with the best vehicle to achieve those goals.”

Another notable trend for this year’s ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA was the increase in the number of industry meetings and functions taking place around the core trade fair and conference event. The International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS), chaired by United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel, hosted its first-ever Asian regional forum while FAO organisation the Agricultural and Food Marketing Association for Asia and the Pacific (AFMA) also held its board meeting on the fringes of the event.



The next ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA and Asiafruit Congress take place on 5-7 September 2012 in Hong Kong.


COMMENTS

Exhibitors:

Christian Carvajal, ASOEX (Chile)
“This year’s participation by Chile at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA has been fantastic. We’ve had more than 47 companies travel from Chile, which represents more than 70 delegates. We’re really pleased with the results and the number of visitors that came this year. We’re very pleased with our stand’s position, and ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA is definitely the platform for the fresh produce business in Asia.”

Jonathan Wiltshire, Apollo Apples (New Zealand)
“It’s been really good. We’ve had our existing customers here asking for more fruit, and there are many more potential customers. We’ve seen a lot of buyers from India, South East Asia and the Middle East. If they turn into good customers it will be a real success.”

Hyun-Ju Kwon, Korean Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp (Korea)
“We are very satisfied with the pavilion this year. There has been more engagement between the exporters and their customers and as a country we have to advertise our high-quality produce more, so this is a very good event for us.”

Jesica Larovere Frigo, Pedregal (Peru)
“Each year the show gets bigger and better. In the next 10 years, this is going to become huge. There are people coming from all over the world, not just Asia.”

Bert Barmans, Zespri Europe (Belgium)
“We opted to hold a meeting with our Asia, Middle East and North America reps here alongside ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA this year. It makes sense because so many of the Zespri team are here anyway.”

Daniel Corbel, Interfel (France)
“The presence of French companies here at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA has increased notably, with new exhibitors Apple-Bird, BVL and Condi joining other established players to grow their business in the Asian market.”

Sukhdev Singh, Food Freshly (Germany)
“Being here at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA is really important to the development of our business globally. The Asian market could end up being bigger than Europe. There’s a real noticeable, growing demand for fresh-cut and value-add produce in many countries in this region.”



Visitors:

Nitin Agrawal, Euro Fruits (India)
“This show has done wonders for our business in terms of making new contacts. It’s not just the exchange of business cards; it’s the conversion rate into actual business that makes the event so wonderful. You meet the serious people from right across the industry.”

Juan Pablo Torrealba, Delifruit (Chile)
“This is my first time at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, and we’ve had very good contacts with potential customers in our main businesses, which are stonefruit, grapes and apples. I see with surprise the vast diversity of buyers, even coming from India and the Middle East. It’s something very good to have come to for the first time.”

Martin Kneebone, Fresh Logic (Australia)
“I think there were some big trading arrangements and deals being struck [at the event]. I could feel the growth of the China market; it was there in the way everyone was talking and dealing, and to me, any information that helps you better understand that is really valuable.”


EXHIBITOR PROFILES

Chilean Blueberry Committee (Chile)
This year’s ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA marked a big change in Asia for the Chilean blueberry industry. With the opening of the Chinese mainland market earlier in the year, the Chilean Blueberry Committee’s general manager Andrés Armstrong said interest at this year’s show had risen dramatically. “We’ve had a lot of interest from importers,” he said. “Two years ago it was hard to find anyone interested in Chilean blueberries, but since last year we’ve really felt a difference.” Chile’s blueberry entry into the market will kick off in late November, and the Committee is planning a promotion with Chinese retailers at the beginning of 2012.

Sensitech (US)
Massachusetts-based company Sensitech chose ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA to unveil its new line of Ryan-brand ethylene absorption products. A major provider of cold chain visibility solutions, Sensitech believes that control of ethylene gas during storage and shipment is an important component of maintaining the post-harvest quality of produce. Consisting of filters and sachets in varying sizes, the new system is placed in the refrigerated air delivery systems of storage facilities, trucks or sea containers to minimise the damaging effects of ethylene gas on fresh fruits and vegetables. Product benefits include reduction of wastage and dehydration as well as minimising unpleasant odours that come with decaying produce.



Lytone Enterprise (Taiwan)
Taiwanese produce exporter Lytone Enterprise was promoting a more recent addition to its product line-up at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, namely red-fleshed dragon fruit. Boasting a deep red colour, the fruit has been achieving good results in Hong Kong and China, particularly during festive seasons where it is used for gift giving, according to Lytone Enterprise’s Cherry Lin. The company is now looking to introduce the product to the Japanese market in the latter half of this year. “Being so attractive, we expect this fruit to perform well in Japan,” said Ms Lin. While traditionally focused on Asian markets with its product range that includes Irwin mangoes, rose apples, starfruit and grapefruit, Lytone has recently scored success further afield developing the Canadian market. The company plans to conduct its first seafreight trials of Irwin mangoes to Canada next year.

Onions from Holland (The Netherlands)
Representatives of Onions from Holland, the body which promotes sales of the Dutch vegetable alliums in markets worldwide, presented the Netherlands’ very first onion exports of the season to Vincent Fung, Hong Kong’s acting commissioner for tourism, during his opening tour of this year’s ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA. Jochem Wolthuis, international director at GroentenFruit Bureau – the national fresh produce marketing body which oversees the Onions from Holland campaign – revealed that, while the Netherlands’ top onion market in Asia, Malaysia, imports around 450,000 tonnes each year, Hong Kong remains comparatively under-developed, taking just 6,000 tonnes. A delegation of Chinese onion importers are due to visit the Netherlands later this year to find out more about the potential for growing that figure.

Mehadrin Tnuport Export (Israel)
Israeli grower-marketer Mehadrin Tnuport Export’s (MTEX) presence at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA over the past several years definitely seems to be paying off, with the company’s business in Asia performing particularly well in a number of categories. One of the company’s headline products is red-fleshed grapefruit, which it trades under its Jaffa brand. With a season starting in just a few weeks, MTEX expects a 40,000-tonne crop. But the company’s big success in Asia this year has been with its line of Medjool dates. Last season production in Israel doubled on the year before, according to MTEX’s Sandra Greif, and orders for Ramadan demand this year were very strong.

Naturitalia (Italy)
Naturitalia, one of Italy’s largest and most successful fresh produce companies, will run trials of the distinctly Italian pear variety Abate Fetel in Asian markets this season, according to marketing manager Augusto Renella. “We’re going to be able to send over a few trial consignments this season because Italian production is higher this year, especially for medium to small sizes,” he said. The company was also involved once again in helping to promote the Kiwigold consortium and its Jingold kiwifruit brand at this year’s show.

Chang-Rak Farms (Korea)
Chang-Rak Farms was one of more than a dozen organisations exhibiting under the Korean pavilion at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA and the company’s marketing director Kim Sung Ho said that exhibiting alongside other Korean companies had worked out well, with the pavilion raising a lot of interest. In the coming months, Chang-Rak Farms plans to run a promotion in a number of supermarkets in Dubai, he added. “We want to develop the Dubai market and the government is giving us some money so we can do this,” he said.

Caputto (Uruguay)
South American nation Uruguay was represented for the first time at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA this year, with major citrus producer-exporter Caputto making its debut appearance as an exhibitor. “Last year we visited both the trade fair and the Asiafruit Congress and it made us realise the importance of having a stand at the show in order to collect all the contacts to develop our business here,” said commercial manager Marcos Araújo. Caputto already has an established business in Indonesia and the Philippines, where it sends good volumes of soft citrus varieties such as Murcott mandarins, but the company was exhibiting to develop its presence in other markets and expand the range of products it sends. “We’re finding new contacts to develop markets such as Hong Kong/China and Malaysia,” said Mr Araújo. “Currently we only ship soft citrus to Asia, but we feel there are also opportunities for our oranges. We’ve also had some good interest in our blueberries at the show.”

Hengfeng Fresh Produce (China)
With the value of the Chinese yuan steadily appreciating against key global currencies, many Chinese exhibitors this year said they were keen to grow the import side of their businesses. Peter Li of Hengfeng Fresh Produce said his company already imports small volumes of citrus and table grapes, but will look to increase the volumes and start bringing in new categories. Hengfeng plans to start importing cherries and table grapes from Chile during China’s winter months, according to Mr Li. He pointed out that a successful import programme takes years to build up and his company would be taking a cautious approach to the volumes it brings into the country. “You have to be familiar with the suppliers,” said Mr Li. “It takes a lot of time to build personal relationships.”

Fern Ridge (New Zealand)
The spotlight for New Zealand grower-exporter Fern Ridge this year was on the company’s new Koru apple variety, which has been getting good feedback from the two containers that hit the Asian markets this season. The variety is a chance seedling cross between Braeburn and Fuji, with a taste Fern Ridge’s Sam Newbigin described as exactly in the middle of its two parents’ flavour profiles. “It’s had a good response in Taiwan, and the trials to Russia and India have been good too,” he said. Volumes of the grower-friendly variety will hit eight containers next year, and production is being run on a licencing model similar to the Juliet apple variety.

Potatoes Canada & Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association (Canada)
The Canadian produce industry made its initial appearance at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA in 2011 represented by two organisations, Potatoes Canada and the Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association. According to spokesman Dave Thornton, Potatoes Canada was exhibiting in the hope of expanding the country’s export shipments beyond Thailand and the Philippines to new markets such as Vietnam and India. Thomas O’Neill of the Norfolk Fruit Growers was touting the Ambrosia apple variety, which he says grows particularly well in Ontario province. “We believe there is strong interest in South East Asia for Ambrosia,” he said. “It’s a great shipping apple and production will be increasing over the next several years thanks to newly maturing acreage.”

Summerfruit Australia (Australia)
The reopening of the Taiwanese market to mainland Australian stonefruit late last year was a much anticipated step forward for the industry, and free of last season’s rocky climatic ride Australia hopes to make a bigger splash in the country this year. “All the signs are that it will be a good season,” said Summerfruit Australia CEO John Moore. “Exports were down last year, but with the promotion at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA and elsewhere, we’re hoping for a return to normal.” A protocol for Australian plums has also been negotiated with Taiwan. Now in the final stages of approval, growers are hoping it will be finalised in time for this coming season.

Thai Agricultural Standard (Thailand)
The need to ensure food safety standards and the potential to secure premium prices by guaranteeing clean and traceable produce was a popular topic of discussion at this year’s event. And it was certainly of interest to managing director of Thailand’s National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards Vinaroj Supsongsuk as the country has in recent years struggled to meet stringent import quality standards in EU nations. In an effort to ensure product from Thailand is up to the necessary standard for these markets, and as a mark of quality assurance, the government last year initiated its ‘Q’ mark of accreditation. “We have created this so that consumers will be able to trust product from Thailand,” Mr Supsongsuk said.

Christopher Ranch (US)
The largest grower and shipper of garlic in the US, Christopher Ranch had at one time exported to Asia, but withdrew from the market due to competitive pressures from China. According to sales representative Justin Guibert, the company feels the time is right to re-enter the Asian market thanks to the availability of a variety it now grows in increasing volume. “We have an Italian heirloom seed that provides a richer flavour profile than traditional garlic varieties grown in Asia,” said Mr Guibert. “We had pretty much ceded the Asian market to China, but because our Italian heirloom garlic is such a unique product, we see opportunities for sales there once again.”

Dakahlia (Egypt)
Exhibitors on Egypt’s first national pavilion at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA were keen to expand into Asia as the economies of some of their major markets begin to slow. “We’re trying to diversify our market,” said Khaled Al Anani of grower-exporter Dakahlia. “The European market is our traditional market, but it is saturated during our season. The competition is fierce and the European economy is not developing like we would like it to.” He is confident Egyptian produce, such as grapes, citrus and pomegranates, can find a place in Asian markets. “We believe we have some very good competitive advantages with our production times and our production costs.”

For more information on ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, contact Ms. Claudia Bach by email, Claudia@gp-events.com, telephone: +49 30 3038 2373 or visit www.asiafruitlogistica.com

This press release and related photos are available on the Internet:
www.asiafruitlogistica.com/Press Info

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