I am increasingly receiving enquiries about special labels and marketing products to grab consumers attention and get that "something special" for prize fruit being exported to China. I’ve heard a few stories from my well-travelled colleagues about how large fruit is such a treasured desert of choice in China, but what is it all about? Kiwi’s think nothing of grabbing an apple or a selection of fruit and devouring in one snack sitting. Why is it so different elsewhere, you mean this isn’t the normal?
The Chinese love fruits, they like them big and beautiful. Chinese people place great emphasis on cultural significance and symbolism of the foods that they eat. Fresh fruit at the New Year symbolizes life and a new beginning.
Certain fruits are eaten during the Chinese New Year period, especially citrus such as tangerines and oranges. These are selected as they are round and "golden" in color, symbolizing fullness and wealth. Of even greater consequence is the lucky sound they bring when the fruit name is pronounced or written, for example writing tangerine contains the Chinese character for luck.
However, while giving fruits as gifts in Asia is generally a safe option, don’t give pears, especially to a couple. The Chinese word for pear sounds the same as to separate or part, you wouldn’t want to be wishing death or divorce on anyone now would you?
Driving sales most recently this Chinese New Year festival were gift boxes and fruit baskets. This category was seen as the primary driver behind increased fruit trading volumes, while individually, sales of apples, pears & citrus remained the dominant varieties.
The food and beverage market in China is shifting towards natural products and whole foods with organic credentials. Plenty of opportunity here for our beautiful and abundant New Zealand produce, to get our “value add” using clever and even flamboyant on-fruit marketing techniques.
Happy Year of the Dog.