Chile is looking to boost its cranberry exports to China, according to the country's ambassador to Beijing, Jorge Heine.
"Cranberries have been one of the great successes of our fruit exports," Heine wrote in a recent article headlined "Betting on our Super Fruit in China."
While "Chile has only cultivated the fruit since the 1980s, it is already the leading exporter of the fruit in the Southern Hemisphere, said Heine.
"With its counter-season production, Chile is the major supplier of the U.S. and European markets (and) since 2012, it has also been exporting to China," said the diplomat.
"In China, the cranberry is something new. Nevertheless, large Chinese conglomerates, such as Legend Holdings, envisioning its great potential, are betting on this fruit, to the extent of even investing in it in Chile," said Heine.
Heine said the peak season for buying fresh fruit in China is during the main holidays, such as the Lunar New Year celebrations and National Day in October, since the Chinese traditionally present each other with gifts of fruit.
"Per capita consumption of cranberries in China is still low, but it's growing. The Chinese consumer values its nutritional value, health benefits and status as an 'exotic' fruit," said Heine.
Considered a "super fruit," the tart red berry is packed with vitamins A and C, and phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cranberries were brought over to Chile from New Zealand in the 80s, said Heine, adding that today the South American country plants some 30,000 hectares of the fruit to produce 90,000 tons a year.
Since Chile and China signed a free-trade agreement in 2005, Chile's agricultural and forestry exports to the Asian giant have grown 471 percent to reach 2.439 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, according to an August 2016 report from the Ministry of Agriculture.