More im­ported food op­tions un­veiled in Shang­hai

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - In Shang­hai

xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The United States Agri­cul­tural Trade Of­fice, in part­ner­ship with Yi­hao­dian, one of China’s lead­ing e-com­merce re­tail­ers, on Jan 21 launched its first on­line fresh and frozen food por­tal.

The on­line plat­form of­fers 500 types of prod­ucts from over 80 brands and among them are US pro­duce such as corn-fed pork from Iowa, Alaskan seafood and Gala ap­ples from Wash­ing­ton which were in 2015 per­mit­ted for im­port fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of a new pro­to­col. Pre­vi­ously, Golden De­li­cious and Red De­li­cious ap­ples were the only two types of US-grown ap­ples al­lowed for im­port into China.

“China is now the top mar­ket for US agri­cul­tural ex­ports. In 2015, the to­tal value of agri­cul­tural ex­ports to China had reached $28 bil­lion,” said Hanscom Smith, Con­sulate Gen­eral of the United States of Amer­ica Shang­hai, China, at the news con­fer­ence to an­nounce the launch of the por­tal.

Smith said that he is con­fi­dent the avail­abil­ity of some of the finest pro­duce from the US will be wel­comed by Chi­nese con­sumers who are cur­rently busy stock­ing up on food for the up­com­ing Chi­nese New Year, the most im­por­tant tra­di­tional fes­ti­val in the coun­try that falls on Feb 8 this year.

A strate­gic part­ner­ship agree­ment was also signed by the two par­ties at the news con­fer­ence and it in­cludes plans to in­tro­duce more fresh and frozen foods from the US.

The on­line por­tal marks the fourth coun­try-spec­i­fied site of­fer­ing im­ported fresh and frozen food on Yi­hao­dian. com — it was fully ac­quired by Wal­mart in July 2015 — fol­low­ing coun­tries such as New Zealand, Canada and Aus­tralia.

Ac­cord­ing to Cao Wei, vice pres­i­dent of the Shang­hai-head­quar­tered com­pany’s mer­chan­dis­ing depart­ment, sales of fresh and frozen food ac­counted for 40 per­cent of the en­tire food seg­ment in 2015, up from 8 per­cent the pre­vi­ous year. Im­ported car­ton milk has en­joyed the high­est sales vol­ume for the past few years. Cao said that Yi­hao­dian is plan­ning to launch an­other six to eight on­line stores in 2016 to tap into the fresh and frozen food mar­ket.

The China E-com­merce Re­search Cen­ter has es­ti­mated that on­line sales for fresh and frozen food reached 26 bil­lion yuan ($3.95 bil­lion) in 2014, up 100 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year. How­ever, the amount is still less than 3 per­cent of the coun­try’s 1-tril­lion-yuan fresh and frozen food mar­ket.

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