Chinese vegetable market to account for 50% of fresh food sales

Press release   •   Aug 08, 2013 09:17 BST

Total volume consumption within the Chinese vegetable market increased by 1% to reach 310 million tonnes in 2012.

Per capita consumption of vegetables reached 230 kg in 2012, seeing steady growth. A few decades ago, most Chinese people ate rice in southern China, and noodles made from wheat in northern China. Nowadays, rice has become the main staple food throughout the country and vegetables increasingly feature in most rice dishes and stir-fries. Consumption is being boosted by better supply and broader variety of vegetables around the year.

Most vegetables in China are consumed as fresh food, and are eaten after being cooked. Strong traditions of home cooking and using vegetables in most dishes support high demand for fresh unprocessed vegetables. Processed frozen and canned vegetables are still a niche segment due to backwards technology, as well as Chinese consumers' dietary habits.

Green vegetables are largely consumed by Chinese consumers as a traditional dietary habit, as they think vegetables are healthier than meat thanks to being rich in fibre and vitamins. The rapidly developing supply chain network, as well as greenhouse technology, enabled Chinese consumers to eat any vegetables at any time, anywhere. Together with the rising population, the government's urbanisation strategy also contributed to sustainable growth in the consumption of vegetables.

Organic/fairtrade vegetables reached a 5% share of overall sales to reach 15 million tonnes in 2012, thanks to Chinese consumers' rising concerns over food safety. Organic vegetables with no pesticides were considered to be more reliable thantraditional vegetables.

Total volume sales of vegetables in China are expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1% through to 2017. In view of Chinese dietary habits, vegetables will continue to be the most important food in the long term, accounting for nearly 50% of total sales of fresh food. However, the unit price of vegetables is expected to soar due to strong inflation in the coming years.

Although fresh vegetables are seeing stable growth, processed vegetable products, especially vegetable juice, such as tomato juice and corn juice, are expected to witness remarkable growth over the next five years, as chilled and processed vegetable products are easier to preserve and more versatile.

For more information on the Chinese vegetable market, see the latest research: Chinese Vegetable Market

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