Third-party cherry merchants are gaining inroads into new markets thanks to an alliance formed with China’s JD Fresh. The latter is the fresh food arm of the e-commerce giant and omnichannel operator JD.Com. The food seller came online in 2016 and has since enjoyed remarkable growth fueled by numerous partners and entities offering fresh fruit products on the site.
Since its launch, JD Fresh has established fresh food farms around the world, including within the nations of Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Japan and Spain. As for cherries, Xiaozhou Zhou said Chile is fast becoming a preferred source for JD Fresh customers. Xiaozhou Zhou is head of the fruits division.
Xiaozhou said Chile is attractive because cherry production is accomplished on a large scale in the South American nation. He also called the Chilean supply chain “highly mature and stable.” Furthermore, cherries produced in Chile are less costly than those produced in North America. For example, the current market price for a box of Chilean cherries after being shipped to China is about 300 yuan. That’s about $42 in USD. By comparison, a box from Canada is 350 yuan, or about $49 USD.
Xiaozhou Zhou made his comments at a recent press conference conducted to announce the formation of new alliances with cherry merchants. He credited the JD “high-quality resources and supply chain” along with the talent of the logistics team. Xiaozhou said his hope is to “empower third party merchants with services” that will result in “superior fruit shopping experiences” for Chinese consumers.
Imported cherries were once considered high-end specialty food products, but the situation is changing gradually. The volume of imported retail fruit grows larger every year in China. In fact, the past two years have seen what industry observers call “explosive growth” in overall imported fruit sales, including apples and kiwi fruit from New Zealand.
In the recent past, most Chinese customers thought of cherries as a “luxury item.” But now with prices moderating, more shoppers are opting to buy and enjoy the sweet and tart delicacy. There’s also a swiftly rising and more affluent middle class of consumers in China. They have more discretionary money to spend on things they want and don’t necessarily need.
Another reason for the growth reason is the advancements in logistics itself. Much of that can be credited to the parent company of JD.Com and its logistics arm, JD Logistics.
Xiaozhou also announced a plan to introduce a C2M-tailored cherry gift box. This attractive item features a decorated red box that displays the zodiacal cow. The latter is designed to appeal to make it an excellent gift to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
JD has developed a special team to concentrate on optimizing the supply chain. The first focus of this effort will be on the cherry market. What they learn from perfecting this category will be used to expand similar services to other categories of fresh fruits coming from various locations around the world.
This includes blueberries, durian fruit and mangosteen products. Quality control training is an important element of the overall effort.