In China, prosperity is increasing at a rapid pace while the level of education is rising rapidly. The one-child policy has led families to invest large resources in their child. Domestic food scandals, not least the one regarding milk substitutes for young children, have meant that food safety has become increasingly high on the agenda. The large affluent middle class likes to eat organic, but prefers the food to be imported. Preferably from northern Europe.
European food culture is highly valued
The well-educated and well-to-do middle class has about the same economic purchasing power as the European middle class. Depending on how it is defined, the Chinese middle class comprises between 100 and 350 million people living mainly in the ten largest cities. They are curious and they can afford to choose. Europe and European culture, in particular food culture, are seen as leaders in quality and safety. In other words, there are enormous opportunities for Swedish food companies that want to export.
Great demand for organic baby food
Until a few years ago, every Chinese family was only allowed to have one child. And if you only have one child, you of course save no effort to give your eyes the very best. This has led to clear effects. In shopping malls, it is not uncommon for a floor of three to only deal with products for children. Of course, this also applies to the food. Organic foods for children may cost money, especially if they come from northern Europe.
Healthy lifestyle and nutritious food in focus
Much of what is known as traditional Chinese medicine is simply about good habits; to make sure to move around and keep track of how much and what you eat. That is why food is very important. How pure and nutritious it is is much discussed. You often bring good food to friends and acquaintances who feel bad. Milk is perceived as very useful and is always available as gift packaging. Swedish organic milk has a clear opportunity here!
Growing demand for organic
Consumption of organic food is growing rapidly in China. It is primarily in the big cities that growth takes place. The forecasters seem to agree on an annual growth of about 15 percent per year, the next five years. Based on this, we can state that China with a growing middle class that values healthy, natural and credible foods is a market with great potential, especially for Swedish organic food companies.
The following product categories are in particular demand:
- Milk and milk powder
- Baby food
- Berries and nuts
- Health food
- Beer, cider and spirits
On-site partner - a prerequisite for export
China is a country that in many ways is very different compared to many countries we may know up close. It is difficult to establish yourself as a company and brand without having some kind of partner in place. Better yet, there are a large number of potential partners, ranging from Business Sweden, to import companies run under Swedish-Chinese auspices, or by Chinese who, for example, studied in Sweden and who returned to promote trade between the countries. Several of them specialize in organic and are happy to help.
Hong Kong - the gateway to Asia
Hong Kong is often described as the gateway to other countries in Asia. One third of what is imported into Hong Kong is distributed to other Asian countries, as the country is a free market with little or no tariffs and offers efficient logistics for distribution. Relevant fairs to attend include Natural & Organic Products Asia (NOPA) and HOFEX where Business Sweden is on site.