SVA Fruits is a joint venture between the Chilean fruit producer San Clemente and Hortifrut. “The company in Shanghai started about 7 years ago with San Clemente, which was one of the first Chilean companies to focus on China as a primary market, and was actually Chile’s largest exporter to Shanghai for many years,” affirms David Smith, Operations Manager at SVA Fruits.
Currently, San Clemente is the fourth largest apple producer in Chile, with around 2.7 million boxes; they also grow cherries, grapes, kiwis, clementines and some other products. “The other parent company, Hortifrut, is the world’s largest blueberry grower, with around 23% of Chile’s entire production, as well as farms in countries like Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Spain. It also owns 30% of Naturipe in the U.S., which means that Hortifrut is their primary representative in China,” explains David.
The big news is that a protocol has been signed between the Mexican and Chinese governments allowing the export of Mexican raspberries and blackberries to China, as no other country has access. David believes that “it is an exciting opportunity that nobody knows how big is going to be, but if we manage to get the right product into their hands, they are going to go crazy for it.”
Blackberries and raspberries have not been grown in China for long, and neither volumes nor quality are very high. According to David, “growing practices are not very developed, so they have a long way to go before catching up with the Western world, but because it’s a new product, consumers are really curious about it.”
David finds the situation comparable to that of blueberries, which only started to take off about 3 to 4 years ago. “I have seen some presentations about blueberry production in China which reveal that, in terms of acreage, they are now the world’s second largest grower, which shows there’s a lot of belief in that product.”
In China, 20% of SVA Fruits’ business goes directly to big name retailers, while the rest goes to wholesalers, which means it already has a wide network of customers. “Conversations about raspberries are still short, but now with the protocol, and only 1-2 months before shipments start, we are definitely ready to go,” concludes David.