Each year DDMA conducts a series of research studies on changing aspects of the Chinese market and business landscape. The key findings of these studies are used to generate DDMA snapshot reports. These DDMA reports are released to our clients and partners worldwide.

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Irish Food in China – High end, niche potential

Irish Food in China – High end, niche potential

Wild Atlantic Way of Food ?

Irish food producing groups and food brands have strong potential among Chinese consumers of imported food. The level of familiarity with Ireland is relatively low, however, the despite the low familiarity the perception is that Ireland is a country with a clean and natural environment, which is a key component in building a successful and appealing food brand in China.

Ireland is generally associated with dairy products, in particular infant formula and to a lesser extent butter and cheese. For Irish companies to unlock the potential for Irish food produce in China, they must start telling consumers more about their heritage, history, safety standards and the popularity of Irish food produce in other international markets.

Ireland is a very good example of a country that could easily develop a high end positioning for it’s food produce in the Chinese market. When Ireland is introduced in detail to Chinese consumers, the comparisons drawn were to New Zealand, the most popular foreign food producing nation among Chinese consumers of imported food.

Throughout the research process, Chinese consumers were introduced to the Wild Atlantic Way tourist campaign. This was considered to be very appealing to Chinese consumers and a similar approach could work well for Irish food producers.

Norwegian Food in China – All about seafood and salmon

Norwegian Food in China – All about seafood and salmon

When discussing Norwegian food, most Chinese consumers of imported food refer to Norwegian salmon and Norwegian seafood in general. Norwegian salmon is well known in China and is associated with high quality, good taste and associated health benefits.

The key images of Norway as a food producing nation are of snow and ice, deep clean water and a sparse population. All of these images combine to create the perceptions of a country with a natural, untouched and unpolluted environment.

The Norwegian government is considered to be active and diligent in the enforcement of food safety standards, which instills confidence in Chinese consumers as to the safety and quality of Norwegian food in general.

Overall, perceptions of Norway as a food producing nation are positive, but are generally limited to seafood and salmon in particular.

Canadian Food in China – Natural environment, trustworthy food companies

Canadian Food in China – Natural environment, trustworthy food companies

Chinese consumers of imported food have limited exposure to Canadian food.

On the positive side Canada is widely considered to be a vast country, with a cold climate that is a relatively small population. These perceptions create the image that Canada is a country with a very natural, clean and unpolluted environment. This suggests that food from Canada is of very high quality.

Another strong positive for Canadian food companies are perceived to be trustworthy. This is an image driven by the limited contact that Chinese consumers have had with Canadians.

Aside from seafood, Chinese consumers of imported food struggle to name many other food categories that come from Canada.

French Food in China – weak relative to competitors

French Food in China – weak relative to competitors

The wealthy Chinese consumers of imported food that were interviewed for this study are very familiar with France as a country. When discussing France, the key perceptions that are discussed revolve around high end fashion brands, wine, romance and the Eiffel tower. This is obviously good for France as a tourist destination but these commonly held perceptions to do not drive appeal for French agricultural produce of French food brands in general.

Relative to other key European food producing countries, France is relatively weak on all of the key measures used to evaluate food producing countries in this study.

France was rated seventh out of twenty food producing countries on the core attribute of having a clean and natural environment which is suitable for producing high quality agricultural produce. The country was also rated relatively poorly on having strong safety standards and also having food companies that are more interested in quality rather than profit.

The reality is of course very different with some of the finest agricultural produce and food brands in the world originating from France. The results of this study confirm the fact that there is a lack of knowledge about French food produce and brands among Chinese consumers of imported food, hence, the low ratings.

This means that the French food companies will have to work harder than their German, New Zealand or Australian counterparts in winning share in the Chinese market. There is a need to cover the basics of environment and food safety in communication with consumers. This is not a requirement for New Zealand or German food producing companies (for example) as perceptions of strength on these attributes are already built in to the image of food produce from these countries.

UK Food produce and brands in China – confused consumers undermine potential

UK Food produce and brands in China – confused consumers undermine potential

Latest complimentary report from DDMA China Market Research.

Chinese consumers tend to have a good general knowledge of the popular culture of the United Kingdom. When discussing the UK the common themes are the Union Jack, Big Ben, Premier league football teams and famous football players, the Royal family, the Beatles, Oxford and Cambridge University, afternoon tea and an upper class that have a different lifestyle to many other people in the UK.

While the UK is a popular tourist destination, there is uncertainty as to what the core industries of the UK and also what the difference is between England, Scotland, Wales and the UK overall. This uncertainty flows into the perception of the quality of food from the UK.

Overall, the UK was ranked 8th out of 20 food producing countries in terms of having a clean and natural environment. This is simply a part of the UK that Chinese consumers do not see or are exposed to.

The UK as a food producing nation and food brands from the UK trailed New Zealand, Australia, the US, Germany and Japan on other key areas such as food safety standards, integrity of food producers and the use of advanced technology in food production.

This does not mean that there is low potential for UK food in China:

DDMA China market research has conducted numerous consumer studies for leading UK food groups over the past year. When the history, heritage, origin, use of modern technology, brand popularity in the UK market and food safety standards of these producers were introduced to Chinese consumers, these brands were very well received.

This indicates that UK food producers and food brands will have to work a bit harder than their peers from other, more popular food producing countries. This would involve more emphasis on introducing the origin, history and heritage, standards, quality of their brand.

European Union Food Safety Standards are considered to be very high:

With all the discussion around a possible UK exit from the European Union, it is interesting to note that Chinese consumers consumer EU food safety standards to be very high, some of the highest and strictest in the world. An exit from the EU could undermine perceived safety standards of UK food products.

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