BEIJING, Dec. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — JD Fresh, the fresh produce business of JD.com announced a plan to double the imports of Sunkist’s citrus fruits in the next three years as the American citrus grower cooperative’s first export ship of newly harvested navel oranges arrived in Shanghai from Long Beach, California in mid-December.
The rising demand for high-quality fresh produce is a prominent trend amid China’s consumption upgrade. JD.com became an authorized e-commerce direct-sourcing partner of Sunkist’s citrus fruits in China since 2018, the company has seen a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60% in Sunkist’s fresh citrus sales in the past years, and it plans to import no less than 10,000 tons of the premium citrus within the next three years.
"Thanks to our close collaboration with Sunkist and JD’s cold-chain logistic strength, we have created a highly efficient way to supply the in-season citrus directly from farm trees around the world to the dining tables of Chinese customers throughout the year at a better price and faster speed," said Wei Ye, general manager of JD Fresh.
"As people have greater need for healthy fresh food and are becoming more and more customized to shop for them online after the pandemic, we are confident to support Sunkist to further grow in the China market," he added.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to deliver fresh California-grown Sunkist citrus to consumers in China," said Christina Ward, Sr. Director of Global Marketing at Sunkist Growers, Inc. "Through JD.com, we can educate millennial consumers on the in-season availability, flavor attributes, and nutritional benefits of our fruit."
Sunkist Growers is a citrus marketing cooperative, founded in 1893, which is owned by and operated for thousands of family farmers growing citrus in California and Arizona. The variety of its fresh citrus products include oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins and more. The seasonal navel oranges from the sunny California groves feature a refreshingly sweet and juicy taste, pleasant floral aroma and a bright orange, seedless interior.
Upon the ship’s arrival in China, following the custom quality inspection, the navel oranges will be sent directly to JD’s self-operated cold chain warehouses. The fruits will be put in JD customized packages and go straight to customers’ door steps through JD’s nationwide logistics network. JD’s cold-chain logistics for fresh produce, which range from same-day delivery to two-hour flash delivery, are the standard services available in more than 300 cities across China, allowing consumers in both coastal and inland regions to enjoy the freshest Sunkist products.
China is the largest importer for Sunkist citrus, accounting for about 30% of its global exports. Despite the headwinds in trade and supply chain in the past year, JD.com and Sunkist have continued to work together to ensure stable and smooth supplies to China and made the brand achieve first in sales among all the imported American citrus brands during the 2020-2021 season.
According to statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in September, U.S. citrus exports have dropped by 6% between 2020-2021 as compared to the previous season, primarily due to a smaller fresh-market crop. Under such circumstances, it is even more critical for the two sides to strengthen their partnership as a good indicator for the support of Sunkist’s farmers and the brand’s fans in China.