February 7, 2020
ROSEVILLE, CALIF. – February 7, 2020 – Following the counsel of its in-market representatives, the California Prune Board (CPB) announced the postponement of its visit to Beijing and Hong Kong as part of the Spring Asia Grower trip this April. The “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory issued from the U.S. State Department due to the coronavirus further solidified the decision to postpone this portion of the trip. The California Prune Board is committed to strengthening ties with its customers in China and will look to reschedule a visit as soon as the situation allows. The Board will continue as planned to its largest export market, Japan, to meet with key trade stakeholders in Tokyo and Osaka March 13-17.
“This trip signified our continued engagement with the Chinese market despite the challenges, and after weighing out the risks for the health and safety of our growers, we decided to postpone our visit,” says Donn Zea, Executive Director for the California Prune Board. “We are thinking of our customers in China during this time and remain committed to this market.”
For over two decades, the CPB had seen significant growth to become the market leader as consumers in China enjoy the premium taste of California Prunes. The 75% tariff was a setback for California Prune exports in 2018/2019 but CPB sees headroom for future growth in this important market.
“As our relationships have developed, it’s clear that Chinese importers and traders believe the best prunes in the world come from California. The tariffs, along with the news of coronavirus, add to the complexity of the market situation but we believe the demand for California Prunes will make a full recovery once the tariff issue is resolved,” added Zea.
China’s overall market size and demand – fueled by the growth in Tier II and III cities, rising income levels, and lifestyle changes for citizens that embrace exercise and healthier foods – provide future opportunity for California Prunes. With the rise of upper-middle-class consumers and a new generation of affluent Chinese consumers, there is more interest in “all natural” and more nutritious foods like California Prunes. Today, you can find California Prune retail packets in high-end supermarkets, convenient stores, and even variety stores in train stations throughout China.
The California Prune Board will continue to introduce consumers in China to the premium quality, versatility, and nutritional benefits of California Prunes through sampling and collateral in 2020. Ongoing promotions will include a mix of influencer activity, social media promotion, and national newswire as well as on-the-ground efforts to promote California Prune-inspired products featured at a local Chinese bakery. The California Prune Board will also exhibit in the USA pavilion at SIAL Shanghai in May 2020.
California is the world leader in prune production growing approximately 99% of the total U.S. supply and about 40% of the world’s supply. The California Prune Board represents 800 California Prune growers and 28 California Prune handlers. California Prunes are the ultimate premium prune recognized throughout the world for their legendary flavor and quality.
About the California Prune Board
Created in 1952, The California Prune Board aims to amplify the premium positioning and top-of-mind awareness of California Prunes through advertising, public relations, promotion, nutrition research, crop management and sustainability research, and issues management. The California Prune Board represents approximately 800 prune growers and 28 prune, juice, and ingredient handlers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture.
For more information, contact:
Kiaran Locy, Dir. of Brand & Industry Communication
California Prune Board