China Consumers lap up UK Food, Beverages and Service
China has based its economy on exporting manufactured products to the rest of the world. This has meant that the country and its people have accumulated a huge level of foreign reserves so that now China is investing globally at record levels. Policy is also changing the country into a consumer society and this means there are growing opportunities to export to China. Below is a flavour of what UK companies are doing in China in 2015.
UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss in January 2015 in her visit to China noted that: “UK exports of food and drink to China have more than doubled in the past 5 years. I’m happy to see such a big increase in the sector, but believe we’re just at the start”
Scottish Sea Food:
“The increasing demand from China and the wider Asia region has certainly had a huge impact on overall exports. Food exports to China in 2014 were up a massive 82 percent to 46 million pounds, mostly due to a 92 percent increase in exports of fish and seafood,” said Susan Beattie, head of food and drink at Scottish Development International.
Salmon – Scotland’s No 1 food export – last year for the first time became the UK’s biggest food export to China, an important emerging market, continuing its growth from virtually nothing in 2011 to almost 65 million pounds, with an extra 40 percent in volume last year, according to a report from the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation.
Building direct contacts with the Chinese is the best way to win the business.
Another Scottish seafood company that has a notable presence in China is Northbay Pelagic, also known as Fresh Catch, primarily selling mackerel.
Northbay opened its first Chinese office in Qingdao, Shandong province, in 2010. The company realized that if growth was to be sustained and new products introduced, it would require an office and staff to assist the company in achieving its key strategies.
Colin Anderson, director at Northbay, said: “Having an office has made many positive differences in the way the company approaches the market and introduces products to China, and we believe that this can only be a major help when trying to develop business in what is a complex and demanding market”.
Burgon Eyemouth Ltd, a Scottish crab supplier, is another company on track toward creating a large presence in China.
The company started looking into exporting to the country in 2010. Sales director, David Markham, for China says “The Chinese market clearly loves crab and imports a variety from around the world. Our season happily coincides with the Chinese New Year market, which works well for us. The Chinese market is very important for our business, and we are looking to increasing our capacity to try to satisfy demand”.
UK Milk, Pork and even Tea!:
Outside of the EU, China is the 2nd largest food export market after the USA and is closely followed by Hong Kong.
China’s appetite for British milk, pork, Yorkshire tea and salmon led to a 12 per cent jump in food exports to the country last year but the industry says it needs more government support to exploit rising overseas demand.
Steve Barnes, economic and commercial services director at the Food and Drink Federation, the industry body, said the Chinese market was particularly attractive because it complemented British eating habits. “The Chinese diet is different — they tend to eat things that we don’t consume, like chicken feet, pigs’ faces, trotters and offal”.
But why just talk about Food and Beverages:
CBI has highlighted the successes of its members in China – just in June 2015 – including:
Aston Martin Lagonda
British Film Institute (BFI)
De Montfort University
Foster + Partners
Heathrow Airport Limited
Jaguar Land Rover
Jones Lang LaSalle
London Stock Exchange Group
Norton Rose Fulbright
Tate & Lyle
Thomas Cook Group
University of Nottingham
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