China Focus: Cheese imports, e-commerce, local plant-based investments and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo contact

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Cheese imports, e-commerce, local plant-based investments and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images
Cheese imports, e-commerce, local plant-based investments and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images

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Cheese imports, e-commerce, local plant-based investments and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

Say cheese: US exports to China to double by 2024 amid shifting consumer trends

Cheese is gaining traction with consumers in China​, with imports from the US alone growing from 2,000 metric tons in 2000 to more than 108,000 metric tons in 2017, and volumes are set to double again by 2024.

China is the now the world’s number six importer of cheese in 2019, moving up from seventh place in 2017. Japan is the top importer of cheese, followed by Russia.

Ross Christieson, SVP, Global Cheese Strategy at the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) said, “Chinese cheese imports will double between now and 2024​.”

Probiota Asia 2019: Probiotics, prebiotics and the emerging science behind the gut-kidney axis to be revealed

The potential for probiotics and prebiotics to deliver significant benefits to people suffering from chronic kidney conditions, and the emerging science behind the gut-kidney axis​, will be the subject of a keynote presentation at our forthcoming Probiota Asia summit.

The presentation will be delivered by Dr Natarajan Ranganathan, Founder and Managing Director of Kibow Biotech Inc. The  summit takes place in Singapore from October 22-24,

Dr Ranganathan said: “Advances in technology and biology have given us bio-informatics – the ability to understand and map connections between the gut microbiome and the health of human organs including the brain, liver and kidney.

“The presentation will highlight work on the gut-kidney axis, and demonstrate that, using pre and probiotics, it is possible to bring significant benefits to patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.”

E-commerce disputes: Food complaints make up 70% of all cases heard at Beijing Internet Court

Disputes over food products made online are accounting for a staggering 73% of all cases heard at China’s second Internet Court in Beijing​, which was established to protect business transactions, personal information, and intellectual property online.

The court has the jurisdiction to handle certain types of internet-related cases, such as disputes over online shopping, service contracts, lending, copyrights and domains.

According to David Ettinger, a partner at Keller and Heckman LLP Shanghai office, the number of complaints reflected Chinese consumers’ shopping habits.

He told us: “China now has over 800 million Internet users and more and more consumers are choosing to purchase foods online through e-commerce platforms."

Thus, it is not surprising that the number of cases involving online food sales has increased​.”

Why Thailand, Indonesia and India are three markets to watch for rapid online grocery growth

Thailand, Indonesia and India will experience rapid growth in the online grocery sector,​ although they are coming from such a low base that it will only account for market shares of 2.8%, 1.5%, and 1.2% respectively by 2023.

According to the latest forecasts by IGD Asia, online grocery sales are forecast to reach US$1.7 billion (Thailand) and US$2.9 billion (Indonesia) in the next four years. India’s online grocery sales are predicted to reach US$10.5 billion by 2023.

Ecommerce is forecast to grow significantly in Indonesia as companies such as Alibaba and invest further. Thailand is also forecast to see a rapid growth in online grocery sales as key players such as Central Group,, Tesco Lotus and Villa Market build better infrastructure and more seamless apps for shoppers​,” said Shirley Zhu, programme director at IGD Asia.

Plant-based progress: Major investments into China significantly boosts industry growth

A new report has revealed that the number of notable investments into China’s plant-based sector rose significantly over the past year,​ whether in the areas of plant-based snacks, plant-based beverages or tech-enhanced alternatives.

“In 2018 alone, the number of notable investments was equivalent to the sum of all notable deals that had taken place in the past nine years (from 2009 to 2017),”​ according to the Good Food Institute’s China Plant-based Meat Industry Report 2018.

Plant-based snack companies were amongst the biggest beneficiaries of these investments, which is unsurprising given that China’s snack category as a whole is predicted to grow at some 20% a year, to reach US$444 bn in market value by 2020.

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