According to Andres Armstrong, General Manager of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, blueberry shipments to markets in Asia have had a very encouraging start to the season; Hong Kong, Japan, China and Korea are the top destinations for the national product.
The executive noted that on December 18th, a series of activities were carried out in Seoul "to commemorate the beginning of our export of fresh blueberries to Korea," he said, adding that these actions are part of a dissemination plan for the arrival and entry of fresh blueberries to the South Korean market. The arrivals started during the month of September with the program "Flavours of Chile" organized by ProChile, in which the Blueberry Committee had an outstanding participation through workshops for importers and distributors in the city of Seoul.
The promotion activities conducted by the Chilean Blueberry Committee, in conjunction with the Association of Chilean Fruit Exporters, ASOEX, this past Tuesday in South Korea, were intended to inform importers/distributors and Korean consumers the availability of the national product, in order to encourage use and emphasize its quality and food security.
The promotion strategy included three core activities:
1. - The promotion at Lotte Mart supermarket in Seoul, one of the largest supermarket chains in South Korea, where in addition to promoting the presence and consumption of Chilean products, the brand in the market sector "Blueberries From Chile" was officially launched.
2. - A press conference for media specialized in the food sector and of large circulation within that country in Asia. The objective of this activity was to note that Chile is making its first shipments of fresh blueberries to Korea relieving the quality and food safety of the national product, and the different uses to which it can be given in various preparations.
3. - Finally, a workshop was held with importers and distributors in the industry, where they were given relevant information about domestic production, the season and projections in order to strengthen trade ties. This workshop was run by the General Manager of the Committee, Andres Armstrong.
Korea and the Consumption of Blueberries
Fresh blueberries is a relatively new product in the Korean market. While there is a small local production, up until now the only country allowed to export fresh blueberries was the United States, specifically the state of Oregon.
According to Fernando Thauby, Agricultural Attaché of Chile in Korea, Korean consumers are particularly concerned about the healthfulness of their food, which is positive for blueberries because of their properties, richness in vitamins and antioxidants. Thus expecting a significant increase in consumption.
The product presentation is also crucial for the Korean consumer and it is very important to be present in retail.
It is also required for the product to have a shelf life that allows it to last a few days at home, but in general Koreans prefer to buy small volumes several times before large quantities.
Currently, the most common ways of consuming blueberries in Korea, are pastries, juices and beverages, however, it is expected that because of its availability, fresh produce consumption will grow.
The Chilean blueberry has no competitors in the Korean market, as the counter-seasonality does not compete with either the small local production, or the American product.
Finally, it is important to note that Korea is a very demanding market as for quality, but the potential of this product is huge, because it is a healthy product, whose benefits have been widely publicized by what the consumer wants to buy.