As U.S. Grown Cranberries Gain Recognition in China, Seeing "Red" is a Good Thing

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Awareness of America's Original Superfruit™ has doubled within two years says Cranberry Marketing Committee

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Evidence of increased awareness for cranberries in China reaffirms that increases in awareness is a good indicator for increases in demand. ~ Scott J. Soares, Executive Director, CMC

In China, red is the symbolic color of happiness. And for U.S. cranberry growers who are looking east for new and expanded market opportunities, Chinese consumers seeing more red in the form of America’s Original Superfruit™ is certain to contribute to their happiness.

Not long ago, cranberries were an almost unheard of fruit in China. Today, U.S. grown cranberries are becoming a consumer-coveted fruit to those consumers who are seeking new foods for their increasingly broad culinary palettes and their growing interest in healthy eating habits.

Nielsen, one of the world’s largest market research agencies, was recently commissioned by the CMC to conduct interviews confirming that there is now on average 11% awareness of cranberries across tier 1 through 3 cities – double from two years ago. The tier by which a city is defined refers to key characteristics of the city, including its economic development, provincial GDP, advanced infrastructure, and historical and cultural significance. Over 3,000 Chinese consumers residing in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou were interviewed along with respondents from 20 tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

“Increases in export volume of U.S. grown cranberries to China is a great indicator that what we and the U.S. cranberry industry are doing to increase demand for America’s Original Superfruit is having a positive impact,” said Scott J. Soares, Executive Director, of the Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) USA. “Furthermore, evidence of increased awareness for cranberries in China reaffirms that increases in awareness is a good indicator for increases in demand.”

Cranberry awareness was noted to be most driven through the observation of cranberry products in stores (average 37.7%) and online (average 24.7%). Awareness from observation at retail outlets was highest for tier 2 and 3 respondents; Internet observation was highest for tier 1 respondents.

Additionally annual data collected through Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, indicates that availability and health benefit awareness of cranberry has increased by 42% and 200% respectively.

The results validate CMC’s tactic focusing on retail, trade promotion and online work that initially focused on tier 1 cities followed by expansion to tier 2 and 3 cities where a larger and growing proportion of China’s population live.

Conversely, Nielsen’s study also reported that in the general category of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, cranberry awareness still ranks lowest. The report also indicated a necessity to improve product Country of Origin recognition based on an almost 60% lack of awareness in China today. To promote greater origin awareness, the CMC has proposed the piloting of a certification program that would promote the use of a recently trademarked “America’s Original Superfruit™” logo.

U.S. food and agriculture products rank at the top of China’s imported goods and according to a recent USDA GAIN report, China is the largest international market for U.S. food and agricultural products, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all U.S. farm exports. Popularity of U.S. imported food products is also related to persistent food safety concerns among China’s consumers where according to the USDA GAIN report, more than 95% of Chinese consumers think about food safety before they purchase, and rank food safety as a “very important” factor influencing their food purchasing behavior. Since 2012, export volume of U.S. grown cranberries has risen 280% with consumer awareness of the cranberry doubling since 2013.

The CMC was established as a Federal Marketing Order in 1962 to ensure a stable, orderly supply of good quality product. Authority for its actions are provided under Chapter IX, Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, referred to as the Federal Cranberry Marketing Order, which is part of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended. This Act specifies cranberries as a commodity that may be covered, regulations that may be issued, guidelines for administering the programs, and privileges and limitations granted by Congress. For more information about the CMC, visit http://www.uscranberries.com . Follow at http://www.twitter.com/uscranberries and http://www.facebook/cranbecravers .

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Anna Waclawiczek
@USCranberries
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