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  • 18 Sep 2012 3:25 PM | Sandra Sullivan (Administrator)

    India's government has once again cleared a controversial plan to open up its lucrative retail sector to global supermarket chains.  Last year, the government suspended a similar plan after fierce opposition from its allies and political rivals. International firms will now be able to buy up to a 51% stake in multi-brand retailers. 

    Analysts say the government has reintroduced the measure in an effort to revive a flagging economy.


  • 22 Aug 2012 6:19 PM | Elsa Fairbanks (Administrator)

    CHINA: China to impose nutrition facts label on pre-packed foods

    By: Wang Fangqing | 22 August 2012

    Chinese consumers will turn to healthier foods when labels are introduced, health official said

    Chinese consumers will turn to healthier foods when labels are introduced, health official said

    New Chinese labelling rules in force from next year should change consumer behaviour, encouraging the purchase of healthier foods, a government health expert has told just-food.

    Beijing says pre-packaged foods must carry nutrition fact sheets on labels, stating calories, protein, fat, carbohydrate and sodium content. Trans fats will have to be declared.

    A senior researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a health ministry agency, said the Ministry of Health "will be supervising the nutrition facts label and there will be a department examining if the numbers are authentic".

    She said Chinese consumers have been consuming excess sodium, increasing hypertension and cardiovascular disease. "It is essential for China to introduce the nutrition facts label," she added.

    Ministry documents stressed the labelling regulation was part of China's 12th five-year plan's goal of building a basic domestic food safety system by 2016. Su Zhi, a ministry official, has told Chinese language media tthe ministry is also working on two additional regulations limiting food contamination and pathogens.

  • 18 Jul 2012 2:46 PM | Elsa Fairbanks (Administrator)
    GLOBAL: Fairtrade sales up 12% in 2011

    By: Dean Best | 17 July 2012

    Fairtrade sales resilient despite downturn

    Fairtrade sales resilient despite downturn

    International sales of Fairtrade products increased 12% in 2011 as consumers continued to pay a premium for goods marked with the ethical certification despite the downturn.

    Sales reached EUR4.92bn (US$6.05bn) last year, according to data from Fairtrade International, a body that sets certification standards in markets around the world.

    In the UK, the biggest market for Fairtrade, sales matched the global growth rate of 12%, hitting EUR1.5bn.

    Sales in the US, the second-largest market for Fairtrade, were up 10% to EUR1.03bn. Fairtrade International said the US data was "projected" from figures it had for the period from 2008 to 2010. Fairtrade USA resigned from Fairtrade International last September. The US association said at the time there were "different perspectives" on how to "empower" workers and producers to "improve their lives through better terms of trade".

    Markets in Europe hit by the crisis in the eurozone still saw sales of Fairtrade products on the up. Sales in Italy increased 16% and in Spain rose 39%.

    With many Fairtrade products either being shipped from or based on ingredients from emerging markets, the jump in sales in South Africa stood out. In 2011, South Africans purchased EUR7.3m of Fairtrade products, up from EUR1.9m a year before.


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  • 01 Jun 2012 9:15 AM | Sandra Sullivan (Administrator)

    China is going to become a much larger importer of medium- to high-quality aquaculture products, particularly marine fish. Demand from China is expected to ramp up fast because of unsustainable local supply.

    Chinese seafood imports increased from USD 3.9 billion in 2009 to nearly USD 5 billion in 2010. Figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization suggest Chinese seafood consumption will climb from the current 12 kilograms per person to 36 kilograms in 2020.

    Read more here
    Source -


  • 18 May 2012 11:44 AM | Sandra Sullivan (Administrator)

    The UK has agreed a £50m trade deal to sell British pork to China, the world's biggest market for pig meat.

    Much of the pork will be in the form of parts that are popular in China but not with British diners, such as offal and trotters.

    "China is the most lucrative grocery market in the world," said Agriculture Minister Jim Paice.

    The deal comes after five years of talks, and negotiations over lamb and beef exports are expected to follow soon

    Read more here

  • 18 May 2012 11:40 AM | Sandra Sullivan (Administrator)
    Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice is visiting China on a 6 day mission to meet with Chinese food and drink importers and retailers.

    FDEA welcomes the initiative to support the UK sector in China.  Read more on the DEFRA website 
  • 16 May 2012 2:23 PM | Sandra Sullivan (Administrator)
    The largest private label show in Europe takes place in Amsterdam on 22 & 23 May attracting high quality, top retail buyers.  See the list of UK food and drink exhibitors - click here.
  • 10 Feb 2012 6:58 PM | Elsa Fairbanks (Administrator)

    By: Mark Godfrey | 9 February 2012

    A sign that a branded food market is maturing is the growth of niches and demand for certified-organic products in China is starting to rise. However, as Mark Godfrey reports from Beijing and the south-eastern city of Xiamen, in China's fledgling organic sector, there are no common labelling requirements, leading to consumer confusion over what is truly organic, which could hinder development in the long term.

    Organic food is taking hold in China but it is, relatively speaking, early days. The market is forecast to have grown by 25% in China last year but, if Euromonitor's estimate is accurate, sales would have reached CNY329m - or just over US$52m.

    The Euromonitor data shows that packaged food accounts for the bulk of sales: a projected CNY252m in 2011, although, perhaps unsurprisingly in a country synonymous with the stuff, tea companies make up the majority of the top five organic companies in China.

    Based on the value of retail sales in 2010, the key players are a local company, Qingdao Changshou Foods, followed by US natural and organic food group Hain Celestial and Huangshan Guangming Tea Industrial Co. The fourth and fifth placed firms are also tea makers.

    Euromonitor data is collected on "food and beverages that are certified organic by an approved certification body". It adds: "For organic products to be included under Euromonitor definitions, the organic aspect needs to form part of positioning/marketing of the product." However, the rise of organic foods in the country hides the fact that, in China, no common certification exists and producers without formal organic certification carry 'green' labels, leaving consumers confused over what products are organic. And, with the price premium for organic food, the uncertainty could hold back the development of the sector.

    Products carrying internationally recognised organic logos are rare in China. There are 23 organisations in China authorised to certify organic products, with the China Organic Food Certification Centre (COFCC), the best known. Another high-profile mark is the Chinese Organic Food logo issued by the Organic Food Ratification Committee, run by the State Environmental Protection Administration.

    While all the organic labels in China are governed by the China National Organic Product Standard (CNOPS), which came into force in 2005, Chinese organic certification bodies are allowed to inspect and certify against their own private organic standards as long as certified products adhere to the national regulation. "Thus organic products might be labelled with the national Organic Products Seal and the logo of the private certification body," explains Martin Weinschenk-Foerster, a director of international business at Germany-based certifier Ceres, which has clients in China.

    Bureaucratic territorialism, a common trait among Chinese ministries, is also partly to blame for the multiplicity of logos. The so-called Green Food standard that preceded the CNPOS is still in use in China and the state-controlled China Green Food Development Center (CGFDC) oversees two Green Food standards outside CNOPS: ‘Green Food A’ (which allows some use of synthetic agricultural chemicals) and ‘Green Food AA’, which is more stringent, allowing fewer chemicals. As a result, explains Weinschenk-Foerster, the ‘AA’ label is less popular with agricultural producers who prefer to use an A standard, which still attracts 'organic' consumers. However, he adds: "Since both Green Food standards are allowing chemicals they have nothing or only little to do with organic standards… many people might get confused about the difference between 'Organic' and 'Green Food' in China."

    The country requires both its national organic logo and the logo of the third-party certification body to be displayed on packaging. In a filing to the International Task Force on Harmonisation and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture (ITF), Liu Zenhui of the China Product Certification Centre has explained how Chinese standards are based on IFOAM [International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements] and EU organic criteria in order to "promote the international organic trade". While the China Organic Food Development & Certification Centre (OFDC) is accredited by IFOAM and is allowed to certify, only two other bodies have been accredited by the China National Accreditation Board for Certifiers (CNAB): the independent WIT Assessment and the semi-state China Organic Food Certification Centre (COFCC). The latter leads the field in terms of market share.

    Despite the number of organics labels in China, securing a quality one legitimately is not easy securing an organic label in China is not easy - where the government heavily subsidises fertiliser and pesticides. Wonder Milk, a brand operated by the US-invested local Huaxia Dairies, has opted not to seek organic certification, explains marketing manager Karen McBride. "Given China's farming it would be very hard to guarantee that nowhere along the feed chain the cow feed and grass has been produced according to strict organic standards," McBride says. 

    She adds it is too easy for the certification process to be corrupted or faked. "It’s too easy to put some cling film or a sticker on a product." On its packaging, Wonder Milk is said to be produced to 'organic principles'.

    Given recent milk safety scandals in China, local dairies clearly want to be seen as clean and green. Yet Chinese milk producers seeking international organic certification have not been successful. Last year, Ceres turned down a Chinese dairy project that applied for certification. It would not elaborate on names or specifics.

    Despite, or perhaps because of the number of different labels, visits to supermarkets in Beijing and Xiamen showed retail staff could not quickly point out organic foods. However, staff questioned in Tesco and Carrefour outlets did, however, concur that customers had begun to seek organic produce, particularly around key gift-giving times such as Chinese New Year. There was also a consensus that organic products cost 30% more.

    Despite the growth seen in the sector, demand for organic goods has not been helped by food inflation, which ran at 5% a year up to 2011, dampening demand for more expensive products.

    A straw poll of young professionals in five cities showed consumption depends on wages, age and overseas experience. One executive on a CNY13,500 salary from a multinational human resources firm in Beijing said she liked organic food because of worsening pollution in China and because she had purchased organic during her university days in the US. A 25-year-old female earning CNY2,500-a-month from a sales job in Zhengzhou said she does not trust organic certifications. Based in the coal-mining hub of Taiyuan, a 28-year-old male salesman earning CNY3,500-a-month said while willing to try organic products he was not aware where to buy them. And a 25-year-old in office worker in Wuhan on CNY8,000 said while she appreciated the health benefits of organic foods, they are "too expensive".

    Indeed food prices and safe supply chains are bigger priorities for major retailers in China than expanding organic offerings. Asked about the prospects for organics, a senior European retailer told just-food he is more focused on extending the firm’s own-brand lines in China to exploit twin local concerns over food safety and price inflation. Organic food lines are a secondary concern. "Right now we’re concentrating on getting a more free spending kind of consumer into our stores, the one we have right now is pretty price conscious," the executive said.

    Other companies are seeking organic sales without bothering to certify their goods. Xiamen Jiaqi Organic Food Co uses a large ‘Green King’ label on it packaging. Yet the firm, which packages vegetables, fruit and seafood, does not have recognised certifications – the Green King logo was devised in-house, a salesperson contacted at the firm says.

    Similarly, a producer of eggs, Hubei Shendi Agricultural Science and Trade Co., Ltd, a firm with battery-style operations themes itself an ‘Enterprise Engaged in Eco-Agriculture’. It also boasts a ‘Green Food’ certificate, which is not a formal organic certification.

    And, also having it both ways, China National Cereals Oils & Foodstuffs (COFCO), a state-controlled conglomerate with ambitions to be a Chinese version of Cargill, sells a ‘Lohas’ range of foods with green-tinged marketing. An ‘I Love Lohas’ marketing campaign ‘yue huo’ (beautiful life) rolled out in local print media pledges: "Our raw materials come from good ecological protection area, and through advanced processing techniques try to keep the nutritional content of raw material itself."

    The sales data shows China's organic sector is growing but the lack of common rules on labelling could confuse consumers, holding back the development of the sector

  • 10 Feb 2012 10:29 AM | Sandra Sullivan (Administrator)

    The Association of European Coeliac Societies has adopted Coeliac UK’s gluten-free symbol as it looks to standardise gluten-free labelling across Europe.

    Click here to read more

  • 27 Jan 2012 9:00 AM | Sandra Sullivan (Administrator)
    Defra, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and industry announced Driving Export Growth in the Farming, Food and Drink Sector: a plan of action.

    This Action Plan will drive export growth in the farming, food and drink sector by:

    Working to open markets and remove trade barriers

    Helping build a business mindset of exporting as a key route to growth

    Encouraging more SMEs to explore overseas opportunities and supporting those who already export do more

    Shifting the focus of the sector towards the opportunities of emerging economies where there is the greatest future growth potential.

    The Action Plan sets out how government and industry will work together to achieve these objectives. In short, it will do this by lobbying for the removal of trade barriers that restrict access to new markets, ensure that the right information and support is available to help businesses succeed overseas, simplify food export paperwork for companies, and strategically champion the UK’s reputation for outstanding farming, food and drink.

    Click here to download full report.

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