Home >> News

Food show is recipe for more growth in Sino-EU trade

Updated: 2023-05-27 10:50 ( China Daily )
Share - WeChat

At SIAL Shanghai, a major international food and beverage exhibition that opened on May 18, Mario Garcia, a cheese supplier from Spain, was surrounded by visitors inquiring about his products.

Some of them surprised him with their knowledge about cheese from his country.

"As many Chinese have made trips to Spain, they have a better understanding of my country's cuisine, including our cheese," he says.

Garcia's company specializes in producing cheese of different ages and flavors, and has been doing business in China for about seven years.

He says, participation in events like SIAL can help him better reach potential customers and help them understand different cheeses and ways of enjoying them — especially those with strong flavors unusual in Chinese cuisine.

"Our importers here have been hosting cheese tastings and offering recipes for our Chinese customers to learn how to use cheese, not just with bread and wine, but also how to cook with it," he says.

Over the years, Garcia has found that Chinese customers have developed a fondness for European products, which benefits his business.

"Once they find a new or strong flavor, they will learn about it and appreciate it," he says, adding that he is optimistic about the future of his business in China.

At the event, the Swedish Trade and Invest Council also displayed the country's distinctive products, ranging from ice cream to plant-based drinks, wine and fruit jams.

"China is a fast-changing market. People are paying more attention to health products, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic," says Liu Xiaoxia, project manager of the council's China operations. "This fits in well with the food market in Sweden; so many products from Sweden have become very popular in the Chinese market."

The Swedish council joined SIAL in 2016. Since then, various Swedish companies have shown great enthusiasm in presenting their products to China through events like SIAL, Liu says.

"Swedish enterprises are optimistic about the Chinese market as a whole, because it has developed quickly, and the consumption base is big," Liu adds.

The organizations Garcia and Liu work for are among more than 4,500 food and beverage exhibitors from over 60 countries and regions, who have brought in about 300,000 products with local characteristics to the three-day event, which was jointly hosted by France-based Comexposium Group and the China General Chamber of Commerce.

The event, which received more than 170,000 visitors, aimed to build a trading bridge for participating companies and professional buyers in the food and beverage industry, and to promote efficient communications.

"We'll celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and China in 2024, and the current period presents a prime opportunity for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries," says Renaud Hamaide, chairman of Comexposium.

"At our shows in China, like SIAL Shanghai, more than half of the exhibitors are international brands," he adds.

Many unique products from abroad have become popular with Chinese consumers, such as South African ice plants and Mexican avocados, which, Hamaide says, is proof of China's great market potential.

"China and France recently issued a joint statement indicating that the partnership between the two countries in the fields of agriculture and food will be strengthened. Not only will Sino-French cooperation be promising, but also the penetration of Chinese food and beverage products into the global food and beverage ecology will continue to deepen," Hamaide says, adding that more such events in other Chinese cities will be staged, such as SIAL Shenzhen in August.

At a forum during the exhibition, Comexposium's Xie Shuyi says that China's imported food market will continue to expand.

"With the consumption recovery this year, imported food products that emphasize nutrition, health and quality will experience a renewed surge of vitality," Xie says.

Ren Xingzhou, former director of the market economy research institute at the Development Research Center of the State Council, points out that economic recovery has created a favorable environment for the development of a food industry that is witnessing increasing expenditure on food consumption, especially in the middle and high-end market segments.

Consumption is also becoming diversified and personalized, and Chinese customers are leaning toward convenient, stylish and leisure-oriented products, she says.

Hot words
Most Popular