Cheese makers look for an even spread
Updated: 2011-04-01 10:56
(China Daily European Weekly)
European cheese makers will strengthen R&D efforts to boost sales in China. Photos provided to China Daily
European specialty cheese makers are looking to make inroads in what has proved so far a traditionally difficult Chinese market.
Chinese consumers are not known for their liking for cheese and are more likely to opt for processed varieties rather than higher quality products.
But Clawson Dairy and Adams Foods from the United Kingdom, as well as Roquefort from France are stepping up their efforts in China.
Tim Harrap, commercial manager of Adams Foods, however feels that there are several opportunities to boost high quality cheese imports. China's growing demand for high quality European wine is an ideal opportunity for European cheese-makers as wine and cheese go together.
"It has also reiterated the importance of wine and cheese pairings at social and private gatherings," says Harrap.
Demand for cheese in China has increased in tandem with the growing interest for natural and organic products. Though Adams Foods is best known for its Cheddar cheese, used in pizzas, the real challenge is as Harrap puts it, to promote natural cheese consumption.
Martin Harris, export manager at Clawson Dairy, says that his company will strengthen research and marketing efforts to boost sales in China.
"There is no doubt that we have a lot to learn about marketing our products in China.
"We hope to educate Chinese consumers with more tastings, recipes and wine pairings," says Harris. "We also need to educate consumers about the difference between Blue and White Stilton cheese as they are different products. Most of our White Stilton variety comes blended with fruits like our White Stilton with Mango & Ginger. This makes the range an ideal 'dessert' cheese."
Ultimately what both Harrap and Harris are pushing are products that are 100 percent traceable and with full accountability. Both Adams Foods cheddar and Clawson's Stilton Cheeses are GI products.
"There is no doubt that food safety and traceability are important to Chinese consumers. It is an area on which we have an added focus," says Harris.
"It is always surprising to hear so much about counterfeit brands in food items. I am sure that the PDI/PGI will help address most of the problems."
Clawson Dairy plans to enter China through local distributors and high-end retailers. Pilgrims' Choice, a brand of Adams Foods, is already available in China at high-end grocery stores like BHG.
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