What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Food Ingredients China - Reaching the Food Developers

Export trade shows -- bring to mind national pavilions, exotic products from all over the world.   This tradition goes back hundreds of years where traders from all over the world would meet at central locations yearly to sell their wares.   USHBC has entered a new era of market development abroad where we are working directly with food processing companies to get blueberries and blueberry ingredient solutions into new and current products.
Welcome to Food Ingredient China!
China is a vast land with food processors spread over 23 provinces.

The 23 provinces of China

Connect the 9-dashes for "Greater China"

>State enterprises and hybrids.   China is a centrally planned economy and still has a system of state enterprises involved in farming, and processing.  The State enterprise China National Cereal Oil and Foodstuffs, now COFCO is a good example.  

Back in the 80s when I first visited China -- almost all food factories were state owned.   You also had one flavor of orange soda on the menu!   Many are gone but a number continue.  More often these state enterprises have evolved into multi unit and product companies.  Some are hybrid state and private.  Some are joint ventures. 

>Foreign Firms.   Investment by outsiders in food businesses was a rush in the 90s as companies from around the world sought the key to unlocking the billion person population.   Initially-- all the big multinationals attempted to start up operations.  
This traditional HK company operates wholesale bakeries all over China.

You will see Dove confectionery in Beijing.   Nestle - in the dairy business.  What you do not see are all of the companies who came and left.   The remaining companies are the ones who came into China, planted roots and continued to hammer away at the challenges of the China market which include labor, local regulations and all sorts of other matters.   

One success factor -- many of the leading food processing companies in China have "overseas Chinese roots."  These are the successful companies from Taiwan (also known here as one of the 23 provinces, but seen differently on the Island nation also known as the Republic of China). 
You will recognize this logo on brands sold throughout China.

President Enterprises from Taiwan is one of the leading if not the largest food conglomerate in Asia -- From Taiwan.   Hong Kong Companies like Garden; companies from Singapore and "overseas  Chinese-operated firms from all over Greater China have flourished.  
Examples: Ichichdo Bakeries, 85 degrees coffee shops.   The list goes on.

Want a good cup of coffee in China -- look no further than this chain.   Taiwan roots -- like many Taiwan companies have larger mainland China holdings than back home.   They even have branches in Southern California now.

>Local Firms.  Chinese food companies have been transformed into industry and world leaders.   They buy the best equipment, have a steady pool of highly trained and well educated research and development and workforce.   Companies like Yi-Li Dairy in Inner Mongolia are world class and produce products for the domestic and world markets.  
Back to Food Ingredients China.

The Chinese consumer of today is similar to consumers all over the developed world.  They demand quality products, new innovation and very importantly -- safe foods.   China has been rocked by food safety scandals.  Consumers are vigilant.  Companies are on call to meet consumer demand and "up their game" to compete with imports..   Just like back in the USA -- companies are looking for "ingredient solutions."  Walking the show on setup day here in Shanghai -- it looked identical to the In statute of Food Technologists exhibitions where we attend back home.  

Manufacturers are looking for turn-key ingredients that add value to a product, have positive consumer awareness -- and blueberries certainly match that bill.  Here in the food industry, the companies are looking for ingredients with specific characteristics such as low moisture, extrudability, (processing plants foods must be delivered and pumped into systems).  Most importantly -- manufacturers are looking for safe foods.  Local companies will paste all sorts of quality certificates all over their booths.  But the North American origin says it all -- Quality, Safety and Satisfaction! 

Go Blueberries!

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