JD.com is using its assets to find ways to give back to communities by getting healthy, quality food into the hands of those who need it. As China’s largest retailer, JD.com’s latest efforts are just one more example of how seriously the company takes pursuing social responsibility while continuing to function as a retail powerhouse.
Free-Range Chicken Program Hatches a Success
JD.com made a bold move in 2016 when it focused its talents on entering a new industry: free-range chicken farming. Appropriately named “Running Chicken,” JD.com’s effort called for the establishment of a chicken farm in Wuyi County, China. This region was economically disadvantaged, with many residents and families living in poverty. Since the chicken farm has been up and running, poverty levels have improved, and customers have proven hungry for the quality meat that JD provides. In just two years, sales have doubled for the company’s chicken that it has raised on its 66-acre farm.
But JD.com has more to feel good about than providing chicken that people want to eat. JD.com has also begun providing interest-free loans to area farmers. Those efforts have contributed to almost 500 families in the region finding a way to make thousands of renminbi annually.
The increase in income has lifted Wuyi County off of the country’s national poverty list. JD.com has shown that a little ingenuity and a commitment to making a change can impact the socioeconomic status of a whole region, bettering the lives of those who live there. And that can be done while making a profit as well.
To help this endeavor run seamlessly, JD.com employs professional breeders who take care of the chickens. The local farmers do their part by working part-time jobs growing vegetables, grains, and fruits, much of which goes toward feeding the chickens, and keeping up the area farms. It’s a partnership that has helped this project become such a success.
Why Free-Range Chickens?
The types of chicken farms and the treatment that chickens experience at such farms vary greatly. JD.com, when developing this project, was committed to an ethical type of chicken farm, known as a “free-range” farm. It’s a direct contrast to other farms known as “battery farms.” At those places, chickens are confined to windowless sheds for their entire lives.
At JD’s free-range farm, the chickens get to spend a minimum of half of their time outside. That’s good for the chicken but also good for the people who consume the meat. That’s because free-range chicken meat is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, according to studies. It also has more of the good stuff, like omega-3 acids, vitamin B, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
Known for its cutting-edge technology, JD applies that advantage to its chicken-rearing as well. For example, every chicken wears a pedometer so JD can track its goal of every chicken taking a minimum of one million steps during its life.
Access to that technology has been passed on to consumers as well. When buying chicken, customers can scan the product’s QR code and see more details about how the meat was raised. They can discover information, like how often the chicken was fed, and more details about the sourcing of the meat. JD.com provides total transparency so consumers can make educated choices.
Because of JD’s outstanding commitment to timely delivery, customers get their meat when it is still fresh. The majority of the company’s customers get their packages that same day or the next day.
Xiaowen Liu, JD.com’s key projects lead in Fresh Food Sourcing, said the company is happy with the success of the program. “The project showcases how e-commerce can benefit society as a whole by alleviating poverty while bringing high-quality, safer, and better-tasting produce to customers,” Liu said.
Bolstered by its success in the chicken industry, JD.com is tackling similar farm-to-table projects in other regions. One is called “Swimming Duck,” and the other is named “Flying Pigeon.”
Bringing Fruit from New Zealand to China
There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh fruit, especially after that first harvest of the year when you’re anxious to savor the sweet flavors of the season. JD.com is bringing that tantalizing flavor to China from New Zealand, as it brings this year’s initial apple and kiwifruit harvests to Chinese customers who are hungry for their first taste.
The move also helps solidify JD’s partnerships with Rockit Global Limited and Zespri, market heavy-hitters that can help them take their imported produce business to the next level.
With more than 300 million customers, JD.com has been supplying the demand of its customers for imported fruit. While some customers prefer to buy fruit grown inside the country, the younger generation with more money doesn’t mind spending a bit extra when it comes to nutrition and flavor.
New Zealand has been happy to send its fruit to China to sell through JD because it has bulked up the country’s sales and fruit exports to its current annual level of 606 million New Zealand dollars. Kiwifruit makes up the largest share of New Zealand’s fruit exports, and China is its biggest customer.
Zespri has been pleased with its partnership with JD.com, which has allowed the company to gain greater traction in the Chinese market. Ivan Kinsella, who serves as head of China Corporate Affairs at Zespri, explained why JD.com is an ideal partner in this endeavor. “Their unparalleled logistics network will ensure that our high-quality kiwifruit always arrives at our Chinese customers in the best condition, giving them a fantastic eating experience,” Kinsella said.
Hoping JD.com can do for New Zealand’s apple crop what it did for its kiwifruit, Rockit Global Limited has set up a flagship store on JD.com for its apples. Because of its wide customer base and quick delivery capabilities, JD.com makes the perfect partner, especially when it comes to delivering perishable items like fruit.
More About JD.com
Bringing fresh produce to customers has been a high priority for JD.com in recent years. It has used its innovation to make sure that Chinese citizens have access to top-quality products, no matter where they are located. Currently, JD.com has fresh products available from more than 50 countries. With over 110,000 different imported fresh foods for its customers to choose from, it has reached its goal of offering a great selection to consumers. But the company doesn’t plan to stop here. It will continue working to find ways to offer even more so that its customers can have access to nothing but the best.
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