New market for French pork in China
French cuisine is highly-considered in China; it is seen as elegant, delicious and high quality production. As for French wine, the demand for French pork products such as ham or sausage has increased rapidly. Traditionally, pork is the main resource to absorb protein and fat and the amount of pork purchased by urban citizen counts for around 60% of all the categories of meat. Since 2006, China has become the world’s largest pork producer and consumer.
However, there is still a huge potential for French pork in China. According to market report from OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), the consumption of pork per capita will reach 34 kilograms, 33% higher than OECD nations. Furthermore, the domestic supply already cannot meet the increasing demand for pork, thus, many foreign pork and its by-products are starting to export to Chinese market.
French pork: a new comer to the Chinese market
According to the agreement signed between Chinese president Xi Jinping and French president Francois Hollande during Xi’s visit in France this April, the fresh and frozen pig meat (and some by-products such as pigs’ trotters and ears) is allowed to export to China. This is definitely a “win-win” situation: the production of pork in France has decreased by 0,6 and the related jobs are shrunk by 1,7%; Chinese consumers are worried about the hygiene of the domestic pork production as many scandals are revealed by the media; therefore, they are eager to consume foreign pork with higher qualities. As quoted by Fanye Meng from INAPORC (interprofssion nationale porcine),“it is hard to estimate what the trade volume will be, but France still needs to do a lot to let Chinese consumers to know about its pork processed products.” Analysts foresee not only the increasing number of pork products imported to China, but French slaughterhouses and cold stores installed in China as well. With just 80,000 tones exported in 2013 according to market report in China from China Customs, the number will increase at least by 20% by the end of 2014.
Major competitors for French pork in Chinese market
Before the entry of French pork products into Chinese market, Italian Parma Ham and Spanish Serrano Ham shared most of the Chinese market. The Parma Ham now is seen in every Italian restaurant in China and is seen as a very healthy, delicious ham. The Spanish ham export to China also increased from 592,000 euros in 2008 to 4 million euros in 2014.
Facing such a fierce competition, French pork products planned to use its network of store-chain in China, such as Carrefour, to promote traditional French cuisine including French pork to Chinese clients. The Minister of Foreign Trade, Nicole Bricq, claimed that through immense publicity, France is trying to deliver a cultural, wisdom brand recognition.
By Jiaqi Wang, for Daxue Consulting, market report in Shanghai