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Food and beverage market in China
  time:2012/3/2 14:23:23

Food and beverage market in China

China is one of the largest consumers of food and beverage in the world, and is also one of the largest producers.

Rising incomes are adding sophistication to the market, with urban residents in particular spending a larger proportion of their incomes buying processed, packaged and imported food and beverage from supermarkets, and eating out in restaurants.

Getting your product into market

As one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing food consuming and processing countries, China is very attractive for any food ingredients producers or exporters aiming to expand their business.

China’s continuing domestic growth, despite the world economic crisis, increases its attractiveness even more. With the opportunities come challenges that call from strategically driven and well resourced market entry.

China is not a single market. It is extremely diverse and fragmented, in terms of product types and regional differences. Thorough market research is needed before entering China.

Exporters need to consider how factors such region, age group, and eating preferences relate to their products.


There are numerous laws and regulations relating to imported food and beverage products in China and these are updated or revised continuously.

Experience suggests that the regulatory, labelling and licensing processes should be undertaken through an in-market agent / distributor who is familiar with the application procedure and documents required, as these processes may be difficult to undertake from New Zealand.

China's new Food Safety Law was adopted on 28 February 2009 and was made effective from 1 June 2009. This law is to improve food safety in China through stricter monitoring and supervision, tougher safety standards, recall of substandard products and severe punishment of offenders.

The new laws are applicable to both imported and domestically produced food and cover production and trading of food and food additives; packing materials, vessels, detergents and disinfectants for food and equipment used in food production; food additives and food-related products used by food producers and traders; and safety management of food, food additives and food related products.

Under the Food Safety Law, all imported food products, food additives and food-related products are subject to the national food safety standards of China.

No pre-packaged foods may be imported into China without appropriate Chinese labels.

All foreign food distributors and producers that import food products into China are required to register with the state entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities.

Importers must record the foods imported and distributed in China, and must keep the records for at least two years.


Despite rapid developments in the last 20 years, China requires a different way of doing business and those that can adopt this, invest significantly in long-term market development, build a need for their products by demonstrating relevance to the Chinese consumer, and supply at a price that will allow the products to be sold competitively while allowing importers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers to achieve required margins will be best placed to succeed.

  • Private label: Private label products are a new development in China.
    Organics: Some analysts expect domestic sales of organic products in China to be as high as $3.6 to $8.7 million by 2015.
  • Dairy: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that China’s fluid milk consumption in 2011 would rise six percent to 13.1 MMT, following a four percent increase in 2010.
  • Wine: Still red wine sales are expected to continue their acceleration (volume growth was close to 26 percent in 2010), with stricter drink-driving laws also likely to push consumers to lower alcohol grape wines (<15 percent alcohol).
  • Seafood: China's appetite for seafood is expected to show strong growth for the foreseeable future, as the booming economy continues to raise living standards and the middle income group grows. New Zealand companies can play an important role in the growth of this sector.

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