The Association of Exporters Fruit of Chile AG, Asoex, and ProChile, invited a group of representatives of major supermarket chains in the US and Canada to visit Chile to get to know the productive and export process of Chilean fruit.

The event was coordinated by the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) in North America, as part of its efforts to promote the national fruit in the US and Canadian markets. The representatives of the retail sector coming to Chile are: Tom Williams, director of Produce & Floral Merchandising at Coborn’s Inc, from Minnesota; John Jaker, VP of Marketing and Merchandising at Charlie’s Produce, from Seattle; Ian Leaf, Produce Category Manager at Montreal; Mimmo Frazone, director of Produce & Flora at Longo’s, from Ontario, and Mathew Tate, director of Produce Procurement at Aramark, from Philadelphia.
The welcome meeting was held at the offices of ASOEX and was led by Ronald Bown, the Chairman of Asoex, who was accompanied by Ignacio Caballero (assistant director of marketing of ASOEX); Edmundo Araya ( Former Secretary General of ASOEX) and Enrique Lira (Secretary General of ASOEX), and  Santiago Contreras (Marketing Analyst of ASOEX), and also   Andrew Armstrong (Executive Director of ASOEX Blueberry Committee); Carlos Curzat (Chairman of the Kiwi Committee);  Juan Enrique Lazo (General Manager of  Hass Avocado Committee);  and  Karen Brux (Executive Director of CFFA for North America);  Susanne Bertolas (Merchandiser CFFA); and Amanda Sheperd (Journalist of  CFFA).
“These kind of visits are very relevant for our industry because they allow us to show, on the ground, the entire production and export process of Chilean fruit, as well as the work developed by our association. This helps strengthen our ties with the North American retail sector. The United States continues to be the main destination for Chilean fruit. During the 2015-2016 season Chile exported more than 790,000 tons of fresh fruit to that market”, said Ronald Bown.
“The retailers that accompany us today represent large supermarket chains, both at the regional or national level in the US and Canadian markets. They also have different target audiences and markets, offering a varied opportunity for Chilean fruit,” said Karen Brux, Executive Director of the CFFA.
Ignacio Caballero was commissioned to conduct a presentation on the domestic industry and the work conducted by ASOEX.
Retail and Consumers
The retail representatives said consumers from their markets are greatly interested in knowing the origin of the fruit they eat, as well as its production process, therefore, for that this visit is welcomed to achieved it.
“We have operations in Latin America, based here in Santiago, and in 20 countries around the world. The Chilean fruit is a great complement during the winter and when there is a lack of local production. It is a high quality product and I really want to learn how producers work and how important the safety standards and delivery conditions are  for this industry,” stated Mathew Tate, director of Produce Procurement at Aramark, Philadelphia.
“At Longo’s, we promote Chilean fruit in the winter months, especially blueberries, table grapes, and stone fruit, which account for more than 20% of our sales in this period. The fruit quality is essential, that’s why it is very positive to work with our suppliers to get the freshest product in the best possible conditions. Blueberries are an important part of our fresh produce business. They are our second most important berry, only preceded by strawberries, so it is very important to promote them,” Mimmo Frazone, director of Produce & Flora at Longo’s, Ontario.