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Northwest pear exports to Mexico anticipated to set a new record

Mexico is commanding the leader board when it comes to exports of Northwest pears. Jeff Correa, international marketing director for the Pear Bureau Northwest, said the country is now the Northwest pear industry’s top export destination, accounting for nearly 42 percent of all Northwest pear exports. “This season, we are on pace for a new record in export volume in Mexico — four million boxes,” he told The Produce News.

The Pear Bureau will engage in worldwide export promotions with 18 international marketing representatives coordinating promotions for USA Pears with activities targeted for each country’s market. “Canada is the second leading export market export market with 2.1 million boxes,” Correa continued. “The top offshore markets for Northwest pears are Russia (566,650 boxes), United Arab Emirates (273,850), Colombia (263,150), Brazil (215,200 boxes), China (184,000 boxes) and India (160,000 boxes).”

Correa continued with marketplace insights. “With two more months of shipment data to be released from the U.S. Customs data, Northwest pear exports are on pace for a new record in export volume — surpassing the previous record set in 2011-12 of 184,496 metric tons,” he stated. “The 2013-14 season will also be the second consecutive season that total Northwest pear exports have surpassed the $200 million mark. The 2013-14 season will near the record established last season, but will most likely end up being the second highest export value season for the industry.”

EportOverviewThe character Sportacus is the star of ‘LazyTown,’ a live-action and animated television show which promotes healthy eating and active lifestyles among children. (Photo courtesy of the Pear Bureau Northwest)Correa said China is the industry’s hottest emerging market. “U.S. pears gained access to China in January 2013 after nearly 20 years of fighting for market access,” he said. “Northwest pear shippers sent a few containers initially after the opening of the market, and the 2013-14 season was the first full season for Northwest pear shipments to the market, with 184,840 boxes shipped to China, substantially higher than initial expectations. While we expected China to emerge as one of the industry’s top Red pear markets, it also emerged as a better-than-expected market for the Green Anjou variety.”

Correa expects overall export volume this season will decrease when compared to the 2013-14 crop year. “The overall dynamics of the 2014-15 crop (crop size, peak pear sizes and quality) will also be factors in determining how well the upcoming season will compare to last season’s, or even to more comparable crop seasons,” he added.

The Pear Bureau plans to focus on its core activities of in-store promotional activity, point-of-sale material support, trade merchandising and trade education in all of its 36 export markets. “In the larger markets, the scope and scale of the base promotional program is increased, and other activities such as consumer advertising, consumer outreach activities and public relations activities are added to the promotional program,” Correa commented.

The Pear Bureau will conduct a three-month USA Pear Road Show in China beginning in October. The show includes interactive learning centers driving around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and set up in front of hypermarkets and malls. “Consumers will be able to learn more about USA Pear varieties, the differences between western pear varieties and the Asian pear varieties that Chinese are mostly familiar with, the nutritional benefits of eating pears and recipe ideas,” Correa said.

In Mexico, the Pear Bureau will continue one of its highly successful promotional campaigns.   “The Pear Bureau has partnered with Fox Pictures and Universal Pictures to conduct a joint billboard ad campaign and retail promotion around movies targeted toward kids, like ‘Despicable Me 2,’ ‘Ice Age 4’ and ‘Rio 2,’ ” he said. “These promotions and the ad campaign have been some of most successful activities we have conducted in Mexico.”

In Russia, the bureau will be part of a joint “LazyTown” promotion with Washington apples and California grapes focusing on retail promotions and consumer outreach activities. “LazyTown” is a live-action and animated children’s television show helping children to eat healthily and become more physically active. “The star of the show, Sportacus, eats fruits for energy and calls them ‘sports candy,’ ” Correa said.

The Pear Bureau has partnered in several other LazyTown-themed promotions in Mexico and Colombia that have also been successful.