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            october 23, 2019

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Asia’s fresh produce hub enjoys growth surge


More than 8,100 trade visitors from 64 different countries attended ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA and Asiafruit Congress at Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo Center last week.
The record visitor numbers marked a 24 per cent growth on last year’s attendance at Asia’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable trade show, but again it was the quality of the visitors that defined the success of the event. 
“This is the best show we have attended,” said Jeff Scott, CEO of the Australian Table Grape Association, which was exhibiting within the Australia pavilion. “We have had non-stop traffic to our stand and virtually all of the people coming by have been existing or potential buyers. We’ve had visitors from almost every Asian country approach us, and it’s great that there are nearly 80 table grape growers here from Australia.” 
Senior buyers and executives from leading food retailers were out in force at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA. One of them was Sumit Saran, head of international foods for Indian retail giant Future Group. “It’s not just the quality of the people you meet at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA that makes this show so special, it’s the quality of the time you get in those meetings,” said Saran. “It enables you to really do business and plan programmes.” 
Other major retailers represented among the visitors included Aeon (Japan and Malaysia), Carrefour (China), Central Food Retail (Thailand), CR Vanguard (China), Cold Storage (Singapore), Dairy Farm/Wellcome (Hong Kong), GCH Retail (Malaysia), Lotte Mart (South Korea), Metro Group (China), NTUC Fairprice (Singapore), ParknShop (Hong Kong), Ranch Market (Indonesia), RT Mart (China), Spinneys (Dubai), Tesco Group Food (China & Thailand), The Food Hall (Indonesia), Walmart (China and India) and Yonghui Superstores (China).
Exhibitor numbers up by almost 30pc

Visitors to ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA found an exhibition that had grown by almost a third. Some 478 companies from 38 different countries exhibited at the trade fair on 3-5 September, an increase of 28 per cent on last year’s edition, while bookings for stand space grew by 25 per cent. 
Asia once again accounted for the largest percentage of exhibitors on a regional basis, with 12 different Asian countries making up 34 per cent of the exhibitor numbers. Europe retained its share of exhibitor numbers at 25 per cent, while Latin America increased its presence to 15 per cent. Oceania (11 per cent), Africa (8 per cent) and North America (7 per cent) completed the global picture.  
China remained the single largest country in terms of exhibitor numbers, with 94 companies exhibiting, while Italy held onto second place with 39 companies. Australia surged into third place with 34 exhibitors, marking a 54 per cent increase on last year, and Egypt also ramped up its presence, moving up into fourth place with 31 exhibitors (up 47 per cent). The US retained its position in the top five with 30 exhibitors. 
Latin American exporting nations Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, along with Spain, all registered increases in exhibitor numbers of more than 60 per cent, while other big movers included New Zealand (+100 per cent), Japan (+75 per cent), Turkey (+50 per cent), The Netherlands (+40 per cent) and India (+40 per cent).
In a clear sign of Asia’s growing importance as a market for the global fresh fruit and vegetable business, most exhibiting nations invested in upgrading or expanding their stands at this year’s show. Some 19 different countries had national pavilions, while Costa Rica, Poland and Saudi Arabia all exhibited for the first time at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA.
Brands hold key at Asiafruit Congress

The week of fresh produce activities in Hong Kong kicked off with Asiafruit Congress, the region’s premier conference and networking event. Taking place on 2 September, the day before ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, the full-day conference attracted more than 400 industry decision makers from 33 different countries.
Headlining the conference this year was a high-powered panel discussion on the role of brands in Asia’s fresh produce business. After a keynote presentation from James Sinclair, managing partner of InterChina, a panel featuring CEO and president of Dole Asia David DeLorenzo, Zespri’s China corporate relations manager Matt Crawford, Mahindra Shubhlabh Services CEO Vikram Puri, and Liu Zijie, chairman of Chinese fruit trader Goodfarmer, discussed the bright future for producer brands in the Asian markets, with a particular focus on the opportunity to build consumer brands. 
In another general session looking at how Latin America can strengthen its role as a supplier to Asia, Juan Carlos of Peru’s Intercorp Group and Christian Carvajal of the Chilean Exporters Association (Asoex) underlined the importance of further market penetration in China, and the need to collaborate with regional distributors looking to make the leap into direct importing.  
Breakout sessions homed in on specific topics, including: Asia’s surging demand for safe food; the trends in the region’s vegetable business; the rise of the Indonesian market; and the opportunity for pear marketing in Asia. 
“We found it really valuable to hear from expert speakers at Asiafruit Congress about the process they are taking to develop premium value chains into Asia,” said delegate Jen Scoular, CEO of New Zealand Avocado. “Their comments confirmed the real need for strong and pro-active consumer engagement, good planning and excellent relationships with in-market partners.”
Asia Fruit Awards winners announced
The Asiafruit Congress concluded with the presentation of the Asia Fruit Awards, which were created by Asiafruit Magazine and ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA to celebrate excellence in Asia’s fresh fruit and vegetable business. 
Three Asia Fruit Awards were given. The Marketing Campaign of the Year was awarded to a joint promotion to sell cherries online in China between US marketing body Northwest Cherry Growers, fruit e-tailer Fruitday and e-commerce giant TMall. Thai company Vachamon won the Importer of the Year Award, while Singaporean food retailer NTUC Fairprice scooped the Produce Retailer of the Year Award. 
In addition to the marketing and networking opportunities at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, visitors were also able to attend the Asiafruit Business Forum, a programme of two information sessions per day on the show floor. Day One focused on Marketing, Day Two on Technology and Day Three on Production. 
The next edition of ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA takes place on 2-4 September 2015 at AsiaWorld-Expo Centre in Hong Kong, with Asiafruit Congress held on 1 September. 

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