Latvian jam maker eyes China

Related tags Estonia Fruit Baltic sea

Latvian fruit and vegetable processing company Pure Food says that
it has reached an agreement with a major Chinese shopping chain to
supply its products there.

The deal comes off the back of a Latvian delegation of representing some 40 companies which last week went to China in an effort to increase the trade of products between the two countries. The delegation included a host of industry sectors, amongst them a number of representatives from food and beverage companies.

According to a BNS report, Pure Food director Aivars Zimants said that the company had had serious discussions with the management of the Chinese shopping chain during a prearranged business meeting in Beijing last week. Zimants said that it would be most likely to export a selection of fruit jams. He pointed out that the Chinese shopping chain, which he declined to name, was currently only selling strawberry or raspberry jams. He his planning on increasing the variety by supplying blackberry, cranberry, rhubarb and current jams.

Zimants said that the supply deal would probably be implemented in the course of the next year.

Having just constructed a new production facility Pure Food says it has enough production capacity to meet the increased demand that the Chinese deal is expected to generate.

But Pure Food says that the deal will work both ways as the trip to China has also served to further its own sourcing requirements. Zimants said that the company had been in discussions with a number of suppliers of raw fruit.

Insufficient fruit supplies on the domestic market means that Pure Food is already sourcing supplies of dried apples from China and that the trip also served as a means of discovering what sort of opportunities exist in the way of strawberries and mangos.

In recent years China has become an increasingly important player on the world fruit and vegetable market, and this accounts for one of the largest agro-food sectors in the country. Indeed in 2000 China became the world's biggest fruit grower, yielding 59 million tons of fruit from 8.4 million hectares of land devoted to a variety of fruit crops.

Pure Food produces approximately 5,000 tons of jams a month, which last year generated sales of €3.9 million. ICurrently its main markets are the Baltic States, Finland and Russia. The company says that with increasing opportunities, both in the EU and further afield, it is expecting to increase its sales by around 25 per cent for 2004.

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