The frozen food market in China is worth watching. It has recorded continued growth despite the economic crisis. This healthy development could be attributed to urbanization in China. Evidently, Chinese lifestyle has changed – an increasing number of Chinese have turned to living in condominiums. Due to the faster pace of urban life, they have shifted from cooking themselves in preference to fast food or frozen foods. Against this backdrop, vast opportunities exist for Thai products there. However, emphasis should be placed on strict compliance with hygienic regulations and product safety. Penetration into the Chinese market should be devised via convenience stores and fresh marts that offer more convenience to consumers than modern trade outlets due to closer proximity to their homes.
The global crisis has dented demand for frozen food products in our major markets, i.e., the US, European Union (EU) and Japan, especially for premium products as consumers have become more frugal and turned to cheaper products instead. Thai exporters of frozen food products have thus shifted to the Chinese market. Of our total exports of our frozen food products, shipments to China account for only some 3-4 percent. Given this, vast opportunities seem to exist there, especially in 2010 when demand for frozen food products will likely surge considerably due to a revival in Chinese consumer purchasing power in line with the economic rebound. In addition, the Shanghai Expo to be held in May 2010, Asian Games in November plus the Year of Chinese Tourism in 2010 (as announced by the Chinese government) – will all be contributors to rising demand for food products.