Four standout fresh produce companies from across the globe were honoured Thursday at the three-day Asia Fruit Logistica in Bangkok for their outstanding work and innovations in helping grow the sector.
South African citrus marketer ClemenGold, Chinese distributor Goodfarmer, Thailand’s wholesale chain Makro and the Paramount Export Company earned this year’s Asia Fruit Awards for “outstanding achievement in Asia’s fresh fruit and vegetable business.”
ClemenGold won for Marketing Campaign of the Year, and it was no surprise given the brand’s massive popularity and influence over the past decade in China, where sales of its mandarins have grown by six times in three years led by its Nadorcott variety. Through wholesale and retail partners and its own efforts, ClemenGold ads can be spotted on the exterior of buses in Shanghai, as well as themed pop-up stores and events.
In addition, ClemenGold’s influence has sparked the emergence of LemonGold seedless lemons and brands Sweet C and ClemenOrange. Marketing manager Adéle Ackermann said being presented the award was an “incredible honour. This recognises the effort and strategic thinking that’s gone into our campaign messaging and our desire to truly connect with Chinese consumers,” she said.
China-based Goodfarmer won Importer of the Year, overcoming all of the troubles in the region related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and inflationary pressure to maintain partnerships and avoid large-scale disruption. It banked on home delivery services to bring fresh fruit, including bananas and pineapples, to customers in 30 big cities.
It also has embraced tropicals from Vietnam and Thailand, including working with Zespri kiwifruit, Mr Apple, Rockit, T&G Global and Driscoll’s. One of the keys in getting the word out on its work has been a collaborative arrangement with Focus Media, a Chinese advertising network to become more front-facing.
“We have achieved good results in the global fruit business through our professional management systems and our industry knowledge,” said Owen Zhang, Goodfarmer’s GM in China. “In the future, Goodfarmer will continue to deepen our strategic cooperation with global partners to build a world-class fruit brand.”
Produce Retailer of the Year went to Makro, a wholesale chain whose centralised ordering system and direct sourcing with suppliers has keyed success.
“Makro runs ordering and programmes with suppliers very effectively,” said John Hey, AsiaFruit Magazine editor. “With good information flow and efficient systems, it ensures its stores are well stocked, delivering quality fresh produce to B2C and B2B customers.”
One of its strengths has been its ability to source locally fresh food, crucial during the pandemic and with troubles across the supply chain. Availability of fruit online also has been key, as Makro has built a strong network over the past three years.
“The award is proof of Makro’s commitment to be a trusted partner to customers,” Makro Thailand’s chief executive officer Tanit Chearavanont said. “This is only made possible by the dedication of our commercial team, suppliers and growers as well as our store operation staff in 147 locations. They all work tirelessly to ensure only fresh and high-quality fresh produce is delivered to our customers.”
For the past 83 years, Paramount Export Company has been delivering for customers too in Asia, from its base in the United States. Since the 1930s, the generations of the Kukulan family have brought fresh produce to markets worldwide, but it was their foray into Asia 45 years ago that established a new pipeline. Because of that expansion and its efforts to be “the eyes, ears and taste buds for its customers,” it received the Impact Award.
“This award highlights the contributions of many generations of Paramount Export Company employees’ hard work and dedication,” said Nick Kukalan, who retired after 43 years in October 2020 and helping build networks in Australia, Chile, Egypt, France, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Spain and Turkey.