Insecurity felt by Chinese consumers due to food scandals pushes them to consume imported products. The rise of the middle class, very interested in foreign products, is also a factor that benefits foreign food brands in the Chinese market.
Many food scandals
China has experienced and still faces today many food scandals, such as cabbage formalin. Formalin is a highly carcinogenic and inexpensive product, the producers of cabbage, unscrupulous or uninformed, had coated cabbages with formalin, so that they were not damaged during transportation during the hot season.
The scandal of milk powder for infants has also directed many parents to buy imported milk for their infants. Melanin was found in milk powder of a very popular Chinese brand in China. This component was used to raise the quantity of protein in the milk powder. Six infants died and nearly 300,000 children are suffering from chronic diseases due to this scandal.
We have also heard about the meat sold as beef, which was in reality rat or fox meat. More than 20 000 tons of meat products were fraudulent in this scandal.
What is the response from Chinese consumers?
Accordingly these food sandals, Chinese consumers belonging to the middle class prefer imported food products from Western countries, subject to stricter regulations. The import of food products has been multiplied by 7 in 10 years. The Chinese market is a promising market for Western companies.
Products directly imported, which have kept their original label, with a Chinese translation stuck on it, are highly appreciated by Chinese consumers. The authenticity and the “Made in Western Countries” are arguments that lead these consumers to choose one product over another. Western companies should not hesitate to highlight the origin of the product and the history of the company to give confidence to those consumers.
What foreign food products are highly consumed?
Here is a list of imported food products highly demanded by Chinese consumers:
– Wine, cognac: according to UBIFRANCE, a bottle of wine on two sold in China is French.
– Products delicatessen: the delicatessen imported products are increasingly popular, especially in large Chinese cities. The demand is also always rising in cities of second and third categories.
– Cheese and other dairy products (including milk powder for children): according to Rabobank, China is clearly deficient in milk, China would consume 10 million tons more of milk than the quantity produced.
– Fruits and vegetables (processed): this market is a promising market, but still underdeveloped.
– Product planning (including flour and yeast): growth of this industry in China, the Chinese consume more and more baked goods. Between 2008 and 2013, bread and bakery products recorded a growth of over 30%.
– Livestock and meat products (including sausages).