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CHILENUT: Cracking open the Japanese market

Nov 15, 2019
Credit : GMI Post

With more than 47,000 hectares of planted area as of 2019, Chile is one of the largest producers of walnuts in the world with South America, Europe and the Middle East as its biggest export markets.

CHILENUT, the association of walnut processors and exporters, hopes to increase its share in Asia, particularly in Japan, where walnuts are viewed as a superfood that reduces heart disease, prevents diabetes and improves motor and cognitive skills.

Since it was founded in 2002, CHILENUT has brought together domestic growers and exporters to develop the industry.

Marketing Head Juan Pablo Costabal said through advanced research and technology, promotional efforts and strict quality control, the group ensures that the sector has managed to meet global demand and customer expectations.

“Chile is a country that can offer walnuts in the counter season from traditional California walnuts supply. The quality is great and the suppliers know the requirements that Japan needs,” Costabal said.

With the growing demand for fresh walnuts all year round, the southern hemisphere harvest period from March to April and processing (hand cracking, as well as machine cracking) taking place from March to November, provides a counter-seasonal fresh option for consumers on the other side of the world.

Currently, there are many companies in Chile that export walnuts around the world. The largest of those exporters, all members of CHILENUT, have successfully penetrated new markets, particularly Japan, because they invested in new technology and implement the highest standards for sanitary processes.

E-mail: / Twitter: @chilenut / Instagram: Chilenutag

Viña Luis Felipe Edwards: Better and stronger with age

Nov 15, 2019
Credit : GMI Post

Selling to more than 90 countries and looking after 2,000 hectares of vineyards, Luis Felipe Edwards Jr. made his father’s company into Chile’s third-largest exporter of wine both in terms of value and volume.

Luis Felipe Edwards and his sons

Luis Felipe Edwards, who started the family-run business 19 years ago, has seen the company grow by 50 percent because of wise investments in how their grapes are grown and how their soil is tended.

“We believe that quality comes from the fruit, not necessarily from wine making. Even if you were a fantastic chef and had a bad piece of meat, you might be able to improve it through cooking, but not by much,” Edwards explained.

He stressed that good viticulture is about controlling cultivation, harvest quality and eventually, cost.

This approach has yielded positive results and has attracted business from some of the wine world’s most important markets, including Japan.

Edwards is very grateful for the long-standing partnership with Mitsubishi Shokuhin, part of Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi group, and believes that his company will grow stronger because of it.

From the ground up: The story of Viña San Esteban

Nov 15, 2019
Credit : GMI Post

As wine grows increasingly more popular in Japan, the competition has become tighter across the board. For Viña San Esteban CEO Horacio Vicente, the 45-year-old family business is ready to take on the challenge.

Viña San Esteban CEO Horacio Vicente

“Competition is only natural in the industry because people treat it like traveling. When people go to the store, they like sampling and experiencing new varieties, allowing small wineries to compete with larger, established names,” Vicente said.

To distinguish itself, Viña San Esteban must focus on the quality of its wines, an objective that Vicente can achieve given his long experience in the business.

“Our family business was created by my father, who was a grape seller to different wine producers 45 years ago, and I started picking grapes when I was 15,” he recalled.

It was in the 1990s when the family decided to begin producing wine in bulk, and in 1997, it started bottling and exporting all their production.

Given its strategy, Vicente sees Japan as the perfect fit, “We initially saw Asia as a growing market with huge growth potential.” Viña San Esteban has adopted the quality standards in Japan as the company’s own.

“We also deeply appreciate the partnerships that we’ve formed in the country, including that with Japanese distributor Overseas Inc. We learn a lot from them and want to grow together in the market,” he said.

Chile 2019 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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