It was at the 2019 version of Chile Week that the agreement for Chilean honey to enter China was signed. The news was received with enthusiasm by Chile and its honey producers as China is a large consumer of honey.
As a result, this week, JPM Exportaciones, the company that produces the Terra Andes plus brand, shipped its first consignment of honey to China through the Shanghai Florica Food import company. It will be sold mainly through a special Wechat e-commerce platform and in the Chilean pavilion on Tmall. Likewise, a percentage will also be sold in organic and health food stores.
The main attributes of the honey exported to China are its origin, certifications and properties. In fact, the honey has been certified by the Pontificia Universidad Católica to the effect that certain types of honey have properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria that affect a person’s wellbeing through the APF factor. This makes Chilean honey the first alternative to be certified as antibacterial, competing directly with Manuka honey, which is the most commonly found honey on the Chinese market.
The importance of this shipment is that it benefits not only the company but also hundreds of beekeepers across the country that work with JPM and have had skills training. JPM also promotes clean and sustainable production, focused on continuously improving the honey ready for conversion to organic production and to comply with fair trade criteria.
“Chilean honey is the first certified antibacterial honey alternative to the renowned Manuka honey and we are seeking to differentiate ourselves by offering a product with greater attributes and properties, better sensorial characteristics and at a more affordable price. It has taken a lot of work to reach this point – we had to evaluate the market, wait for the authorities to permit our entry and now, after a few years, we can say that we’ve achieved our goal with great results, because the Chinese clients are always asking us where they can buy Chilean honey,” said Mr. Juan José Vidal, Chile’s Commercial Director in Shanghai.
“We’ve been working for almost five years on getting the protocol authorizing us to bring our honey into China; three of those years were dedicated to researching the functional properties that Chinese clients are looking for in honey, until we finally achieved a highly differentiated product. Right from the start, ProChile’s commercial offices in Shanghai and Beijing helped us to understand the market and to take the leap. We are very grateful for this support, as the first step was essential to positioning ourselves in this market,” said Mr. Juan Pablo Molina, the commercial manager of JPM Exportaciones.
This first consignment consisted of two pallets of approximately 1,800 kilograms and was shipped by air.
Different types of Chilean honey have unique characteristics, such as their floral diversity and organoleptic qualities, which differentiate them from any standard honey from around the world. Certain types of honey, such as those from Ulmo, Quillay, Tiaca and Peumo native trees, also have medicinal properties.
After 11 years of research and studies of over 500 types of Chilean honey, the Pontificia Universidad Católica has created a differentiating factor of honey known as APF, which certifies the antibacterial capacity of certain types of native honey on 3 levels (100+, 150+ and 200+). This has made it possible to position Chilean honey as natural and functional, a current trend in the global market.
In 2019, honey exports amounted to US$12.5 million and the main export markets were Germany, France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.