Organic food and drink market increasing in China

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 24th October 2012

Organic food and drink products are increasing in popularity in China according to new research by a leading consumer research company, Mintel. The Mintel study on consumer lifestyles in China found that 80 per cent of urban Chinese consumers claim that organic food and drink products “are worth paying for.”

Mintel’s report said that 56 per cent of urban Chinese consumers have claimed to have increased their spend on organic products, and over half of Chinese consumers had purchased organic fresh foods in the past year. Furthermore, the report showed that 22 per cent of those surveyed had purchased frozen organic food.

The most common organic products purchased by Chinese consumers included fresh milk, cooking oil, pork, beef and chicken. Mintel reported that 75 per cent of those surveyed said that supermarkets were the most common place to purchase organic products.

Paul French, Chief China Market Strategist at Mintel, said that the increase in the organic food market in China could be perceived as a means of “self-protection” from food contamination.

“There were seven major food scares in China during 2011, and they reflect the range and scope of the challenge that the food and drink market faces. Food scares around tainted infant formula have definitely made their mark and today nearly half (43%) of urban Chinese consumers say that they check the label of infant formula products,” Mr French said.

Mr French’s comments follow reports as far back as 2009 regarding Chinese food safety and a more recent nation-wide campaign to improve food safety systems in China.

Mr French said that the significant rise in organic consumption illustrated a desire by higher income earners in China to purchase products “perceived to have a stronger provenance of origins.”

“The success of foods grown and produced for export, and those foods from ‘trusted’ foreign sources, are providing a level of ‘confidence’ that is seeing consumers engage more effectively with the brands,” Mr French said.

The Mintel report also said that 87 per cent of Chinese consumers are likely to spend more on foods labelled as “all-natural.” The Mintel report showed that urban Chinese consumers are significantly concerned with labels on food and drink products. Mintel reported that 78 per cent of those surveyed check the label for the product Net Content, 67 per cent check the Country of Origin, and 66 per cent check the industry certification on the label.