Nation develops growing appetite for food imports

By LI YINGXUE | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-07 07:35
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A shopper checks food imported from Central Asia at a supermarket in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. LI YIBO/XINHUA

Growth potential

Arla Foods, the Danish dairy industry leader, has taken part in the Shanghai expo every year since the event was launched in 2018.

Frede Juulsen, head of international business for Arla Foods' Early Life Nutrition Business, said China's per capita consumption of liquid milk is about one-third the global average, a sign of significant growth potential. Furthermore, the penetration rate of high-end dairy products in China is gradually increasing.

The report also said the growth of China's imported food industry is due to four key factors: the vast scale of the global single market; reduced tariffs; expanded sources for imported food; and an increased variety of imported food products.

Bai Lu, deputy director of the General Administration of Customs' import and export food safety bureau, said Chinese customs authorities will continuously enhance the import food safety supervision system. They will also innovate regulatory technologies and accelerate the implementation of smart Customs procedures, with a particular focus on developing the Smart Food Safety system to improve clearance efficiency.

Imports of food and agricultural produce from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have experienced robust growth.

A report on such imports by China from BRICS countries last year, which was released at the 2023 China Import Food Summit, said they reached $72.7 billion, a growth of 10.6 times compared with 2006, and representing 31 percent of China's total food imports.

The report added that such imports by China from BRICS countries last year rose by 15 percent compared with 2021. The main import categories include soybeans, meats and meat products, aquatic products, vegetable oils and grains.

In particular, Brazilian beef, king crab from Russia, Indian spices, South African citrus fruits, red shrimp from Argentina, oranges from Egypt, and Ethiopian coffee have gained popularity among Chinese consumers.

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