China continues to be the world’s largest consumer market for Food and Beverage (F&B) products, after surpassing the United States in 2011. This makes the Chinese market increasingly appealing for foreign brands, especially as Chinese consumer behaviour shifts. Despite a fragmented distribution infrastructure and growing local competition, opportunities for European SMEs to sell their products in China are likely to grow further. In the first quarter of 2015, F&B exports from Spain to China increased year on year by 48%. In 2014 exports of dairy products (milk powder not included) from France grew by 11%.
Growth of imported F&B products is driven by rising disposable incomes, limited arable land, water scarcity issues, urbanisation, an improving logistics system, growing concerns for food safety, the depreciation of the Euro versus the Chinese Renminbi, as well as a growing taste for foreign foodstuffs. Opportunities for European SMEs in this sector particularly exist for the following products: wine, dairy products, pasta, pasta sauces, tomato products, olive oil, beer, chocolate and high-end confectionery, pre-packaged biscuits and snacks, breakfast cereal, coffee, meats as well as baby food/infant formula.
Leading import F&B categories in 2014 included dairy products, oil and oil seeds, aquatic products, meat, grain and associated products, alcohol, sugar, other beverages, processed foods, and canned foods.
This report, updated in May 2015, outlines the new regulations put in place since July 2011 and 2013, and accounts for all the most recent trends that have happened in the market since earlier editions of this report were published. New regulations include: the Registration of Food and Drink Exporters; New Regulation on Exports of Dairy Products to China; and the new registration requirements being considered for imported infant formula milk.
To tackle rising concerns regarding food safety, which has drawn widespread attention in recent years, the government has restructured the mechanisms by which it supervises food production and distribution. These have been brought together into one new ministry; the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). Furthermore, this report also highlights the latest trends in marketing and joint promotional activities agreed by China and EU government organisations.