Best known for its organic dried fruits, Sunny Fruit is a brand under Turkish food manufacturing major K.F.C. GIDA A.Ş.
Despite having established a presence in the US and Canada as well as Asian countries including Singapore, Japan and South Korea, the brand’s biggest target is China, a market that it has found difficulty penetrating due to organic certification barriers.
Nevertheless, the firm claims that it has found a way to reach Chinese consumers — via cross-border e-commerce platform Tmall.
“China is the most important market for us, but the problem with selling organic products there is the organic certification, which is not easy to get. We are trying and we are in talks, but I’m not very optimistic about it. Because of this, we decided to open an e-shop on Tmall.
“We are working with a Hong Kong company for this. All the necessary processes have been prepared, so we should be able to start retailing on Tmall by June. If everything goes well, we could do the same on JD.com next year,” Neset Kececiogullari, Vice Managing Director of Sales at K.F.C. GIDA A.Ş., told FoodNavigator-Asia.
Currently, Sunny Fruit’s biggest market is in the US, where the firm has warehouses in both the East and West Coast. It also has an office in Canada, its second largest market.
“In Asia, we sell a lot in Japan. We have a very good partner there, so you can find our products in every corner. In addition, our market in Korea is growing well, while sales in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK are also good,” Kececiogullari said.
According to Kececiogullari, Sunny Fruit has an in-house R&D team that aims to launch at least one new product every year.
At the recent THAIFEX – Anuga Asia 2023, the brand introduced its latest “functional fruits” range, which include Prebiotic Organic Dried Apricots, Prebiotic Organic Dried Figs, and Organic Fig & Walnut Balls with Added Probiotics & Prebiotics.
The dried fruits are infused with prebiotics from chicory root fibres, while the fruit and nut snack contains oligofructose-enriched inulin and Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086.
“We want to increase the health benefits of our products by adding probiotics or prebiotics because they support the digestive system. Some companies are just coating the fruits with probiotics, but we imbue them in the fruits to obtain the biggest benefit. Each pack provides 25% (figs) or 20% (apricots) of the daily recommended amount of fibre intake.
“Also, some of our products are pasteurised. As a result, they are safer and have an extended shelf life and a softer texture than other ordinary dried fruits. This is one of the reasons why we are so popular in Japan. Our pasteurisation system is designed so that the heat will not kill probiotics in the process,” Kececiogullari explained.
Other new additions to Sunny Fruit’s product line-up are Green Tea Organic Dried Apricots and Green Tea Organic Dried Figs.
“The plan is to incorporate different functional ingredients into our products. Some people hate to consume green tea, but everyone knows that it has health-benefiting properties. For our Green Tea series — made with green tea extracts — you get none of its distinct taste, only the benefits.”
At the moment, the functional fruits are only available in the US and Canada, as the firm is working with international certification body ECOCERT to obtain the certifications required for commercial sales of these products in Japan and South Korea.