Stonefruit Season Retrospective with Karen Brux of Fruits from Chile
CHILE - Though I can’t quite place it, I feel there is something magical about stonefruit. I find that biting into a sweet and juicy peach can transport me to a world of summer bliss. With Chilean stonefruit season wrapping up, I had an opportunity to speak with Karen Brux, Managing Director of The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association to discuss this past season.
“The Chilean nectarine and peach seasons have ended, with the final shipments to the U.S. in Week 13 (week of March 26)," Karen reports. "Plum exports are also winding down and will finish by late April. YTD, Chile has shipped 6.97 million boxes of stonefruit to the U.S. This is a small decrease from last year’s volume of 7.2 million boxes. Peach and plum volumes to the U.S. actually saw a slight increase, while nectarine exports decreased. This was due to the fact that the China market opened for Chilean nectarines in February of 2017, and this was Chile’s first full year shipping nectarines to China. The U.S. is Chile’s largest export market for peaches and nectarines. China is the largest for plums.”
Speaking as both a marketer and a consumer of Chilean stonefruit, Karen says that quality improves year to year, and she has seen double or triple digit increases across the board with retailers who promote.
“I’m always a bit perplexed when I stop by a supermarket and they’re not carrying any stonefruit. They’re missing out on revenue. If retail buyers actually tried our stonefruit and worked with us to promote it, they’d see how Chilean stonefruit could contribute to their produce sales,” Karen tells me.
“This past year, I was meeting with a buyer from a large nationwide retail chain that doesn’t carry Chilean stonefruit When they told me it wouldn’t sell in their stores, I pulled out a bag of some amazing plums of different varieties,” she continues. “After trying some, the buyer said ‘We could sell that.’ So, I think the challenge for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association with stonefruit is different from what we face with the other fruits we market, like blueberries and grapes. We don’t have to ‘sell’ retailers on these categories. We can just get to work on partnering with them to market it. With stonefruit, there are still a number of retailers who need to be convinced that Chilean stonefruit can add to their produce sales. We’ll be developing more strategies and programs for generating retail support next season. There are huge opportunities, so I’m pretty excited about that!”
Signage, demos, and other in-store and online promotions have all contributed to increased sales of Chilean stonefruit. The Chilean Fresh Fruit Associations plans to expand retail promotion support in the coming years.
I am all for stonefruit year-round and applaud Karen and her organization for their efforts to get retailers on board. To follow the plight of all beautiful, sweet, and untapped produce sectors, stay with us at AndNowUKnow.