Chile’s largest fruit exporter lights up London

New event dedicated to fresh fruit and vegetables showcased the world’s greatest growers June.

Fruit sales make up a large portion of profits made at Santiago’s daily Mercado Central. Photo by Marco Valtas — Flickr.
Fruit sales make up a large portion of profits made at Santiago’s daily Mercado Central. Photo by Marco Valtas — Flickr.

Chile’s nutrient rich soil and brilliant sunshine combine to create the perfect conditions for growing fruit — it’s therefore no surprise that the country is the largest exporter of fresh fruit in the Southern Hemisphere.

Santiago’s Mercado Central perfectly showcases Chile’s dedication to growing mouth-watering produce as each stall bulges with vibrant colors, creating a rich tapestry of flavors. With more than 30 varieties of sun-ripened species sent to over 100 countries around the globe, there’s no doubting a good portion of the world’s population have sampled Chilean exports.

This variety was shown off at the London Produce Show from June 4-6. This is a new event that bringing together fruit growers from the world over to educate and exchange ideas about harvesting fruit and vegetables. The three-day show was supported by the European subsidiary Fruit Growers Alliance (FGA) and US fruit breeder, Sun World International LLC (Sun World), and has invited Chile’s largest exporter — Gesex — to the party.

Prior to the event, Gesex’s Felipe Casanova was sure the event would be a great chance to build new contacts while consolidating those with existing customers, not to mention looking for new opportunities within the UK.

“We’re aiming to keep learning about the UK market, while also showcasing some of the new varietal innovations that we have achieved in all of our products, including table grapes, cherries and other stone fruit,” he told Fresh Plaza News.

Gesex exports a total of 4,500 tones of both red and green table grapes every year, making the variety the largest single export for the growing outfit. The company is therefore constantly striving to expose new varieties and flavors on the international market and the London Produce Show is seen as an ideal opportunity to do this.

Despite the fact that many supermarkets in the UK are in the process of reducing suppliers while increasing volumes of fruit, Casanova was confident Gesex will remain a big player on the circuit.

“We are confident we will keep growing with both red and green seedless grapes and we see the UK market as one of our targets specifically for red seedless,” he said. “In contrast with traditional exporters, our growers have full visibility as regards the customers we are serving and the results they receive – this acts as motivation for our growers to keep improving quality as they will be rewarded as a result.”

Founded in 1998, Gesex is just one of Chile’s 7,800 fresh fruit growers, cultivating a huge range of produce from avocados to Chilean papaya, combining to support one third of the country’s economy.