A Chinese agricultural official said Wednesday [13 December 2017] that China should encourage growth in the cheese market to develop its milk industry. “Efforts should be made to develop dry dairy products like cheese to improve milk product structure and boost the milk industry,” Vice Agriculture Minister Yu Kangzhen said…Full Article: Xinhua Dec 2017

Key Point

  • According to the Dairy Association of China, China’s per capita cheese consumption is only ~0.1 kg each year while the global average 2.6 kg per capita. The association noted that in 2016, China produced 37.1 million MTs of milk and 29.9 million MTs of dairy products.

ChinaAg Comments

  • China has one the lowest per capita consumption rate of cheese in the world. As of 2016, China had a consumption rate of ~0.1 kg per capita, while Japan and South Korea had rates of 2.4 kg and 2.8 kg, respectively.
  • In October 2017, China lifted its import ban on European soft cheeses. Shanghai is a major Chinese importer of European soft cheese. The 2017 ban primarily impacted French and Italian supply of roquefort, brie, camembert, and gorgonzola. The ban on European soft cheeses was particularly burdensome for the Shanghai-based importer Cheese Republic.
  • In September 2017, according a manager at an April Gourmet (Beijing-based imported food supermarket), the Chinese import ban on European soft cheeses began two to three months ago (June/July 2017), though retailers were allowed to sell their inventory stock. A Jenny Lou’s (expat focused) store in Chaoyang District, Beijing, was stocked with mozzarella (soft cheese), cheddar, comté and manchego (all hard cheeses), though brie and camembert were absent.
  • In July 2017, mainland China instituted a ban on European soft cheeses.
  • From 2015 to 2016, Chinese cheese imports increased from 91,166 MTs to 114,122 MTs. New Zealand, Australia, the USA, France, Italy, and Denmark were the top cheese suppliers to China. In 2016, China imported more than USD 400 million worth of cheese.
  • As of early 2016, Jenny Lou’s (founded in 1989) managed eight high-end Beijing supermarkets that sold Western products at a price premium. In Beijing, the districts of Chaoyang and Shunyi have the largest communities of Western expatriates.
  • In 2016, according to Fonterra’s managing director in China, mozzarella sales in China increased by 66%. In December 2016, Fonterra announced it was constructing a mozzarella factory in Clandeboye, South Island. Mozzarella exports from the factory were expected to begin in September 2018.
  • In May 2014, China temporarily banned British cheese due to food safety concerns.
  • In December 2012, a representative from the Chinese e-commerce platform, Taobao.com, noted that New Zealand-produced mozzarella and cream cheese were its most popular cheese products.
  • In March 2008, China temporarily banned Italian mozzarella cheese over food safety (dioxins) concerns.

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