Chinese market opens for new Chilean food products

Avocados, shelled walnuts and beef are amongst the new products approved for export.


Bright colorful fruit, fresh fish, high quality cuts of meat and a huge range of vegetables — any trip to a local market in Chile leaves you in no doubt of the country’s rich and diverse agriculture.

Now, China is set to enjoy a new range of Chilean products following a recent announcement that avocados, shelled walnuts, beef, lamb and mutton have all been approved for market entry by Chinese authorities.

Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture said the market access negotiation process had taken several years, but now that trade has been approved products from the Andean nation would be on their way to the Far East within months.

Emphasising the popularity of these products in China, Chilean Agricultural Minister Luis Mayol said his country was well positioned to meet demand and highlighted Chile’s strong health standards as key in the recent decision.

“China needs these foods, and Chile can produce and export them,” Mayol said.

While there is already an established market for some products, other Chilean exports are looking more to the long term. Adolfo Ochagavía, Chilean Hass Avocado Committee president, described the Chinese market’s potential for exporting avocado. “Today consumption [in China] is almost nonexistent. Mostly it is consumed by foreigners,” Ochagavía told Fresh Fruit Portal. “We must work with local chefs to adapt Chinese recipes and apply them to avocados”.

The youth hold the key —  this was the message from Ochagavía who highlighted the possibilities for encouraging younger generations to experiment with new culinary trends and incorporate food products from outside of typical Chinese fare into their daily diets.

While mainland China is seen as a hotbed of opportunities for many, links to other parts of the world’s most populous country are already established. Ochagavía explained that Chile already exports approximately 700 tons of avocado a year to Hong Kong and some of that makes its way to the Chinese mainland.

Currently, Chile exports many fruit products to China, including grapes and apples, and the far-east nation is the main export market for Chilean cherries worldwide.