Swedish food can break new grounds in China as the middle-class Chinese grow and the consumers’ behavior favor more safe food, said a Swedish sourcing company based in China.
“A growing proportion of the Chinese middle class is starting to look at imported food to satisfy their concerns,” stated in a report from Scandic Foods Asia. “Swedish food, free from antibiotics and Salmonella is an attractive choice for health-conscious Chinese consumers.”
Chinese also associate the food with a status symbol in the society where social markers still play an important role. Expensive, modern, clean and safe, according to the report, are some of traits associated with Sweden, something that is highly valued in food and, currently, in China, after a series of food scandals have shaken the country.
Cultural differences may lead to new opportunities for Swedish food producers, but also help to increase the risks. The Chinese consumed chicken feet in huge volumes and chicken wings valued higher than the tenderloin.
“The Chinese market may seem difficult to get into, but the rewards for those who succeed are the greater. The possibilities here are on a completely different scale,” said Per Lindén, CEO at Scandic Foods Asia who succeeded in what many Swedish food companies dream about – to establish themselves in the Chinese food market.
The company has been analyzing how the Chinese consumers’ buying habits are changing.
“In China, food security is highly valued and the consumers are preparing to pay more for imported quality products,” said Linden.
These purchasing trends have not gone unnoticed by Swedish industry: last year China’s Agriculture Minister He Changfu and Swedish Agriculture Minister Eskil Erlandssonsigned signed a new trade agreement to boost Swedish exports to China. The deal is to develop trade between Sweden and China and deepen cooperation in research, food technology and animal husbandry.
“Swedish food has great potential to sell in China. The middle class is growing and they demand high quality, healthy and safe products. All this can be our Swedish companies contribute,” said Erlandsson.
The potential is great for Swedish exports. China’s middle class is expected to grow to 340 million people by 2016.
Source: Scandic Foods Asia