According to FiBL, the Chinese organic market was estimated to have grown to around $8B in 2018 and is now the 4th largest organic consumer country in the World.
50% of the market is smaller scale, smaller retail shops and farm gate.
Consumer Preferences & Channels
Food scandals and a mistrust of domestically produced conventional food have increased the demand for organics, with health and safety being by far the biggest driver.
An increasingly well off and educated middle class is also increasingly concerned with the environment. There is much variation across China - the biggest consumers being in the East Coast Metropolitan areas.
Traditional domestically produced goods have tended to be single ingredient products, fresh produce, meat dairy and eggs. Wine, cheese and baby food are the most commonly sourced multi-ingredient products, the latter being especially popular as the result of food safety concerns. Infrastructure is still developing with an increase in wholesalers and distributors dealing with organic.
Once a net exporter, domestic demand is starting to see that slow considerably with more imports being sort, and more home grown organic being consumed locally.
China has its own organic standards, controlled by the CNCA. At present no equivalence agreement or acceptance of any other overseas control system exist and no agreement is likely in the mid-term at the time of writing in 2016.
Full certification by an accredited Chinese certification body to the Chinese standards is required to export organic directly into China for sale via traditional 'bricks and mortar' retail. All ingredients at all stages of the supply chain need to be certified back to farm level, presenting challenges for multi-ingredient products, particularly where ingredients are sourced internationally.
Cross-border e-commerce is currently the favored route to market for China, as activity currently sits outside of the organic legislation and provided products are purchased online via an approved platform, full CNCA certification is not required. The line can be blurred where so called 'Offline-to-Online' retailers are concerned. Consumers visiting concept stores may see and handle goods making a purchase online for delivery, or they may buy in store. The latter option would not exempt the product from CNCA certification.
Soil Association Certification can help businesses understand compliance with CNCA requirements and support them through the process of inspection and certification. Contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Biofach China - 25-27th May - Shanghai. BIOFACH CHINA will bring visitors a new display area called “ New Products Area”. Various international organic and natural processing products and international organic trends will attract numerous professional visitors and consumers from all over the world.
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