From one of the world’s most beautiful, diverse and naturally abundant countries also originates some of the world’s tastiest grapes. The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) celebrated the launch of its inaugural China table grapes promotional campaign at the Jiangnonghui Wholesale Fruit Market.

The event also symbolically marked the official beginning of the 2021 South African table grape season in China. Traders and consumers in China will benefit from SATI’s “China Specification”, exclusively developed to ensure the best possible South African table grapes are provided to this highly discerning market.

SATI partnered with leading Chinese fresh fruit importer and distributor, Goodfarmer, to stage the celebration. Freshly imported shipments of South African Crimson Seedless, Sweet Globe, Sweet Sapphire and Sweet Joy table grapes from importers Rui Ocean and Berda Fruit were featured as part of the celebration.

A highlight of the event was the Lion Awakening Ceremony, which represented the ties between South African table grapes and the Chinese fruit industry through the imagery of the lion. The lion is both an important cultural icon in China and symbolises South Africa’s world-renowned wildlife resources.

An exciting new market for table grapes

South Africa is already a leading global exporter of fresh fruit – but historically, Europe has been the main destination for its fruit exports. The promotional campaign being launched by SATI reflects the China market’s growing importance.

“SATI is proud and excited to launch its first ever South African table grapes market development campaign in China,” said Willem Bestbier, chief executive officer of SATI. “This campaign brings together specially selected growers and exporters from our beautiful and diverse country, South Africa, and renowned importers, wholesale markets, the trade, and retail in China. The aim is to showcase South African table grapes that are truly worthy of the campaign slogan ‘Beautiful country, beautiful fruit’.”

“South Africa is a beautiful country with a unique geography and climate well suited to cultivating premium quality fruit, of which its fresh, sweet, juicy and crisp table grapes are among the best,” said Eric Zheng, general manager of Shanghai Goodfarmer Apple.

“We at Goodfarmer are committed to providing consumers with healthy, delicious fruit and vegetable products through our network of distribution centres and wholesale market sales centres, which cover 26 provincial capitals across China. We look forward to working with SATI and our other partners to give more consumers in China access to fresh, delicious and healthy South African grapes.

Some 90% of SA grapes are seedless

More than 90% of South Africa’s table grape production is seedless, and the diverse growing conditions make it possible to cultivate a broad range of mostly new generation table grape varieties.

SATI has developed a range of initiatives and marketing assets to support its new China campaign, which will continue over coming seasons in the form of educational events, trade outreaches, retail promotions and more. These include a Chinese-language campaign logo, a dedicated website and newsletter, and Chinese-language promotional materials.

The campaign is being delivered in partnership with the Department of Agriculture of the Western Cape, which is the key table grape growing region of South Africa. It also enjoys the support of the exporters organisation, the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF).

SATI representatives have been visiting China frequently in recent years to listen and learn from both traders and consumers, in order to grow a product that suits the market requirements.

“The objective is continuous improvement towards a quality, safe and healthy product exhibiting excellent quality – juicy, sweet and crunchy table grapes for Chinese consumers to enjoy,” said Bestbier.

“This will be achieved in a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership and our commitment to the Chinese market. We wish everybody a successful campaign. Enjoy our table grapes. We warmly invite you to engage with us on this exciting journey.” – Press release, SATI