September 7, 2023
ASIA FRUIT AWARDS: winners announced
Rockit Global, United Produce Company, WinCommerce, and Tatsuo Horiuchi of Farmind Corporation are the winners of the ASIA FRUIT AWARDS 2023.
Snack-sized apple brand Rockit, Taiwan-based fruit importer United Produce Company, Vietnamese food retailer WinCommerce, and Tatsuo Horiuchi of Japanese distributor Farmind Corporation have won the prestigious ASIA FRUIT AWARDS 2023.
The annual pan-Asian awards are presented by ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA and ASIAFRUIT MAGAZINE to celebrate excellence and recognise outstanding achievement in Asia’s fresh fruit and vegetable business, with the winners selected by the two organisations.
The ASIA FRUIT AWARDS are given in four categories – ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’, ‘Importer of the Year’, ‘Produce Retailer of the Year’, and the ‘Impact Award’, which recognises a person and/or organisation that has made a significant contribution to developing Asia’s fresh produce business.
The winners of the ASIA FRUIT AWARDS were announced during a presentation ceremony today at ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, Asia’s premier fresh produce trade show, which is taking place at AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong on 6-8 September 2023.
They received their trophies and certificates from David Axiotis, managing director of ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA organiser Global Produce Events and Chris White, managing director of Fruitnet Media International, which publishes ASIAFRUIT MAGAZINE and organises ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS and ASIAFRUIT BUSINESS FORUM.
“We warmly congratulate our four fantastic winners,” said Axiotis. “These awards recognise the best players in Asia’s fresh produce business and our winners are to be commended on their extraordinary achievements.”
MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR: ROCKIT GLOBAL
Rockit Global took out the Marketing Campaign of the Year Award for its innovative efforts in China, where it collaborated with world-leading entertainment franchise, Pokémon, on an extensive omnichannel campaign.
The snack-sized apple brand partnered with Pokémon on a 12-week campaign between May and August 2023 to celebrate China Children’s Day on 1 June. Leading Pokémon character Pikachu was featured prominently across Rockit’s channels, including digital and social activity, in-store activations, events, packaging, and promotional materials.
Through Freshippo, the leading online-to-offline retail platform under Alibaba Group, Rockit’s Pokémon pack was available online nationally and in 280 campaign-themed offline stores in key cities. Overall, the campaign included 140 roadshow events with retail partners and reached over 3,300 stores with point-of-sale displays. Activations were supported by merchandise and eye-catching Pokémon-themed packaging. The campaign featured extensive digital activity and was supported by KOL and KOC collaborations and social activity.
Announcing the winner, ASIAFRUIT MAGAZINE editor John Hey said Rockit had partnered to create “a cut-through campaign” that enabled the apple brand to harness the brand power and popularity of Pokémon and connect with millions of consumers. The collaboration played on the synergies between the ‘personalities’ and ‘values’ of the two brands – “innovative, energetic and bursting with attitude” – to resonate with Rockit’s target audience. It also appealed to the growing collectables market. “Fandom is big in China, and Rockit’s Pokémon partnership is a great way of leveraging on this in an authentic way,” said Hey.
The impactful campaign builds on Rockit’s previous partnerships with Minions and Pacman, continuing its successful strategy of collaborating with world-leading entertainment franchises. “Rockit’s FMCG approach to marketing continues to build enormous profile for the brand and disrupt the apple category,” said Hey.
Accepting the award, Julian Smith, Rockit Global’s general manager of global marketing, said: “We are incredibly proud to have won the ASIA FRUIT AWARD for Marketing Campaign of the Year for our consumer-led, omnichannel campaign through our collaboration with Pokémon.
“This recognition is another significant milestone towards our goal of becoming the world’s most loved apple brand, and we’re excited to be encouraging millions more consumers to try something new, do something different and Ready. Set. Go!”
IMPORTER OF THE YEAR: UNITED PRODUCE COMPANY
The Importer of the Year Award went to Taiwan-based United Produce Company.
Established in 2005, United Produce is one of Taiwan’s leading fruit importers as well as operating a significant import business into Hong Kong and China.
United Produce was singled out for its strategic and innovative approach to market expansion. It was also recognised for its strong reputation with key customers, which include leading global suppliers.
Taiwan’s fresh produce market continues to be dominated by the wholesale and traditional retail trades. While cultivating solid links into these channels, United Produce has developed a significant business supplying the modern retail sector and is a key service provider to Carrefour.
In 2019, the company opened a state-of-the-art cold chain facility. The multimillion-dollar operation has enabled United Produce to manage inventory, service retailers more effectively, and secure strong sales results for customers, Hey noted. The facility also helped the company to navigate supply chain disruption during the Covid pandemic.
“We are extremely appreciative and honoured to receive this award,” said president and owner of United Produce Company, Allen Wu. “We could not accomplish this without the support, and the supply of high-quality fresh produce, from our friends and partners. This award will unquestionably motivate us to continue to work hard and innovate.”
PRODUCE RETAILER OF THE YEAR: WINCOMMERCE
Leading Vietnamese food retailer WinCommerce took out the Produce Retailer of the Year Award.
WinCommerce operates the WinMart supermarket chain and WinMart+ minimart chain in Vietnam, with more than 130 supermarket stores and over 3,200 convenience stores.
WinCommerce was recognised for the strides it has made in fresh produce retail since Masan Group took over the company at the end of 2019, rebranding from VinMart/VinCommerce to WinMart/WinCommerce.
Announcing the winner, Hey said WinCommerce had expanded its fruit import offering and enhanced the in-store experience with well organised layouts, consistent quality, and eye-catching displays. WinCommerce was recognised for in-store execution and its teams’ improved QC process, product handling and display of produce on-shelf.
WinCommerce has also successfully pursued a strategy of direct sourcing in fresh produce, particularly for imported fruits, Hey noted. It has developed direct relationships with selected global suppliers which have provided marketing support, achieving mutually beneficial results.
“The expansion of modern food retail in Vietnam is fuelling the impressive growth in the country’s fresh fruit imports, and WinCommerce is a leading force with its focus on direct sourcing,” said Hey.
In addition to expanding its footprint in terms of store numbers, WinCommerce has upgraded existing stores and innovated with new store formats. It recently launched its WinMart Urban format. Designed by French architects Malherbe to project ‘a modern, youthful European style’, the format aims to create a new shopping experience and appeal to multiple consumer segments in busy urban areas with a wide range of fresh produce and premium service.
“Winning the prestigious Produce Retailer of the Year Award is a tremendous honour,” said Vuong Kim Uyen, senior import manager of WinCommerce. “We owe our success to the invaluable contributions of our dedicated staff and partners. We remain steadfast in our responsibility to consistently provide high-quality products, while fulfilling our mission of enhancing the material and spiritual well-being of 100 million Vietnamese consumers.”
IMPACT AWARD: TATSUO HORIUCHI, FARMIND CORPORATION
The Impact Award was presented to Tatsuo Horiuchi, president and CEO of leading Japanese fresh produce distributor, Farmind Corporation.
Horiuchi was recognised for his record of innovation in multiple areas of Japan’s fresh produce business over his 40-year career. He was also singled out for the influential role he has played in developing the trade both in Japan and more recently in other markets across Asia.
Horiuchi founded Fresh System in 1991 to operate fresh produce distribution/processing facilities in Japan. The company later merged with other business units and changed its corporate name to Farmind in 2015. Today, Farmind is a multifaceted, integrated distributor with a national footprint. Its operations include sales and procurement, warehousing and distribution, farming, ripening and processing, IT management systems, marketing and field merchandising, e-business services, and shipping (following the recent purchase of conventional reefer operator Fresh Carriers).
The supply chain in Japan is multi-layered. Driven by Farmind’s philosophy of linking farmers with consumers, it has helped to shorten the supply chain and remove intermediaries to boost efficiency and market responsiveness, Hey noted.
Horiuchi has innovated in the production space in Japan, he added, with Farmind growing produce for direct supply to retail, and acquiring land where farmers can no longer continue with their operations. The company has also developed value-adding services for retail such as fruit preparation for the convenience sector.
Under Horiuchi’s leadership, Farmind invested in IT management systems for distribution and developed ripening technologies. More recently, it has taken these systems and expertise to other markets such as China to enhance distribution of bananas and other fruits.
On the trade side, Horiuchi has made significant contributions to developing the business in Japan. Before establishing Farmind, he served both Dole Japan and Dole Asia as senior VP between 1978 and 2007. While at Dole, he played a key role in bringing New Zealand kiwifruit into the Japanese market, and Farmind is a leading distributor in Japan for Zespri today.
In the banana category, Horiuchi helped to drive the expansion of production in the Philippines and was one of the first players to diversify Japan’s banana sourcing beyond the Philippines to Latin America.
“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award and deeply grateful that Farmind’s efforts are so highly regarded,” said Horiuchi. “Farmind is committed to contributing to the development of the global fruit and vegetable industry in Asia as well as in Japan by continuing to strengthen and expand our comprehensive platform.”
For more information or media enquiries on the ASIA FRUIT AWARDS, please contact:
John Hey, editor of ASIAFRUIT MAGAZINE, by email: email@example.com
About ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA
ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA is the leading continental trade show for Asia’s fresh produce business. The 16th edition of ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA will take place on 6-8 September 2023 at AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong. ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA is co-located with ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS and ASIAFRUIT BUSINESS FORUM, which are organised by ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA’s knowledge partner Asiafruit Magazine.
Management: David Axiotis