Welch's Launches Line of 100% Juices in China
New effort expands company's Asian-Pacific presence
CONCORD, Mass, February 3, 2006
Welch’s recently announced an agreement to partner with Great Lakes Fresh Foods and Juice Ltd, a subsidiary of Del Monte Pacific, to manufacture, sell and distribute Welch’s grape juice and other juice products in China. For several years, Welch’s has enjoyed a strong presence in the Asia/Pacific markets of Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. This entry into China represents an important step in the continued expansion of the Welch’s brand in the region.
“This is an important milestone for Welch’s,” says Bill Hewins, vice president of Welch’s International. “China is a very fast-developing consumer marketplace where we believe the opportunity is significant for the introduction of our unique, 100% Purple and White Grape products.” He noted that Welch’s first exported products to China as early as the 1920s. “Now our new partnership will allow us to efficiently expand our brand there long term,” Hewins added.
Welch’s is testing four flavors at 250 supermarkets in Beijing and Shanghai and at all Wal-Mart stores in China. Results will determine how quickly these products will roll out to additional markets in the country.
For the past few months, Welch’s has been testing 100% Purple Grape, 100% Purple Grape & Apple, 100% White Grape, and 100% White Grape, Apple & Peach. Two bottle sizes are being offered to the Chinese consumer: a multi-serve bottle of 600 milliliters (about 20 ounces) and a single-serve bottle of 250 milliliters (about 8 ounces).
“The grape juice market in China is in its early stages,” says Bob Mulhern, director, Welch’s International New Business. “At a 1% share of the juice category, it’s very underdeveloped. We believe the country has considerable upside potential, especially when you consider that China is currently one of the top five juice-consuming countries in the world.”
The Welch’s line is being sold in a premium glass bottle. Considerable consumer research went into optimizing the products, packaging, label design and creation of the Chinese brand name, “Basket of Real Fruits.” This descriptive phrase appears in Chinese characters on the label with the Welch’s name in English just above it.
Welch’s is working with Great Lakes as its partner in this new market. Great Lakes is one of the top producers of 100% juices in China and will be coordinating manufacturing, distribution, sales and marketing of the four flavors.
“We are pleased to be joining forces with one of the best known and trusted brands in the world. With Welch’s and the successful Great Lakes brand in China, we will be able to provide high-quality, great-tasting and healthy products to Chinese families,” said Paul Rasch, president of Great Lakes.
“We did a lot of research to ensure that we selected the right company to partner with in China,” Mulhern says. “We wanted to be certain that our partner knew the market and could help us develop products that meet the needs of Chinese consumers. We looked at all potential partners and decided Great Lakes was the best fit for us.”
Welch’s will ship its grape concentrate to China, and Great Lakes will then manufacture the new line of products to Welch’s exact specifications.
Welch’s is using in-store promotions and sampling events to introduce the line to Chinese consumers, as well as a public relations program focusing on the health benefits of grape juice.
Welch’s is the world's leading marketer of Concord and Niagara grape-based products, including grape juice and jelly. The company produces a variety of other fruit-based products, including 100% juices, juice cocktails, and drinks in the following forms: single serve, bottled, refrigerated, and frozen and shelf-stable concentrates. Welch's also produces a number of fruit spread products under both the Welch’s and BAMA brand names. In addition to the variety of products Welch’s sells in the U.S., the company also markets more than 300 products in some 50 countries and territories around the globe. Welch’s Web site can be found at .