Mission Produce opens first Ripe Center in China

April 19, 2017
Santa Paula News

Oxnard based Mission Produce today announced that it has completed construction on its first Ripe Center in China. The Center, operated by a joint venture between Mission Produce, Lantao International and Pagoda Stores, will operate under the Mr. Avocado brand for distribution of ripe avocados in China.

The joint venture builds on the existing partnership between Mission and Lantao; and the addition of Pagoda creates a direct link to the consumer in delivering ripe fruit into a market that is poised for rapid expansion.

According to Steve Barnard, Mission’s President and CEO, “We are very excited about the growth we’ve seen in China over the past several years. By opening the Mr. Avocado Ripe Center in Shanghai, we will be able to provide ripe fruit to the market and accelerate that growth. Our partnership with Lantao and Pagoda to develop the Mr. Avocado brand for ripe fruit strengthens our leadership position in China.”

Pagoda is one of China’s largest fruit specialty stores, with over 1,800 shops and a presence across the country. Pagoda has expanded rapidly in recent years, including opening new stores and through acquisition. The chain’s chairman, Yu Huiyong, said he was very excited about the Mr. Avocado partnership, and indicated that there is a huge opportunity in the Chinese market. “We now have more than 1,800 stores all over China. We hope to continue to open 10,000 stores by 2020. By developing the fruit industry, we hope to better serve the world, in a sense,” Yu said.

“Because we have so many fruits and vegetables in the category--but so far there are very few recognized brands--we feel that this is a very big opportunity for the next decade to come,” Yu said. “I told my team three years ago that we need to pay special attention to avocados. If we lose avocados, we would lose half of the fruit category. So, I have been looking for the opportunity to form a partnership with the best worldwide avocado company.”

Lantao CEO John Wang said more and more consumers are accepting and recognizing the fruit, and the time is right for rolling out the Mr. Avocado brand for the ripe program. 

“After years of promoting and developing avocados in the Chinese market, we have reached a turning point. Because there has been only hard fruit available, customers had to ripen on their own. The U.S. market began to develop rapidly over 20 years ago when Mission started ripening fruit for retailers. We are following the same format now in China. Through our Mr. Avocado partnership, we constructed the first ripening center in China, supplying professionally-crafted, ready-to-eat avocados to the Chinese market. I believe Mr. Avocado will be the leading avocado brand in China,” Wang said.

The Mr. Avocado Ripe Center, based in Shanghai, is strategically-located near Yangtze River delta, and the Port of Shanghai. It has 4 ripe rooms with a total capacity of 80 pallets of ripening space. Each room features two-tier racking systems. The ripe rooms were constructed under the supervision of Mission’s engineering team, and are duplicates of the energy-efficient, high air-flow, temperature-controlled rooms the company uses in its eight Ripe Centers in United States. The Mr. Avocado Ripe Center is the first avocado-specific ripening center ever built in China.





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