Chinese consumers are looking for cheese after wine

It has been a gradual process to introduce Western-style cheeses into the Chinese urban middle classes. The introduction of Western-style cheese to the Chinese urban middle class may have begun with supermarket chains putting cheese on their shelves in order to cater to expatriate populations. It was still the pizzas and burgers of international fast-food chains that helped shape the taste of cheese in China’s largest cities.

By the late 1990s, fast food had such an impact on urban communities that Chinese consumers began to accept processed cheese and ‘nai Lao’ (milk jellies) in their diet.

The taste for cheese is a phenomenon that has mainly been observed in urban areas.

No Roquefort, please

Anecdotal Evidence suggests that “Old World cheese” is disliked in China. The majority of people who were asked to taste a variety of French, Italian, and Spanish Cheeses disliked the smell.

In a country where lactose tolerance is widespread, the idea of drinking old, rotten dairy is unappealing.

Imports of “New World” or processed cheese, as it’s often called, have grown at a rapid rate.

The average annual consumption of cheese is 200 grams, compared with 26 kg per person in France or 12 kg per person in Australia.

In 2011, China imported 30,000 tonnes of processed cheese. The three largest suppliers of processed dairy products to the Chinese market will be pleased with this news. New Zealand is responsible for 40% of the market. Australia and the US account for another 40%.

The local Chinese cheese industry, as expected, is still a young one. Its production of 20,000 tons in 2011 represents a mere drop in the ocean of the world of cheese. Comparatively, Australia produced 340,000 tons in 2011, of which about 215,000 tons was consumed domestically.

Chinese cheese producers are not only facing aggressive competition from foreign players but also struggling to reestablish their customer’s trust since the 2008 scandal.

Australian dairy producers, who are known for their quality, safety, and competitiveness, now have a chance to grow. Bega Cheese Company released recent figures on the growth of dairy exports.

Australia’s low-cost production and competitiveness are attractive to multinational corporations looking for an entry into the rapidly growing Asian market. Saputo, a Canadian dairy processor, is currently in the process to acquire the Warrnambool Butter and Cheese Company.

The signing of the free-trade agreement by Australia and China is good news for Australian cheese exports. The negotiations have been long and difficult, but there is hope that the tariffs will be reduced to allow Australian dairy firms to compete on equal terms with Fonterra of New Zealand.

Got milk?

The story of cheese is part of a much larger initiative, which involves the introduction of milk to the lives of the Chinese people.

Chinese authorities are trying to increase milk consumption in China, which has traditionally been a diet that is devoid of dairy products. Two Dogs

The State Council of China established a national milk program in 2000 to address public concerns and to launch a dairy industry. The program is thriving despite the 2008 scandal. It has increased the national average daily consumption of dairy products by twofold over the past decade.

The growing middle class, and their demand for exotic products and tastes, are also a major influence on the changing diet. This middle class is still interested in European wines and ‘Old World” or European-style cheeses. Cheese manufacturers will need to educate their clients about the meaning of cheese within European cuisine, just as wine merchants did.

No doubt, European cheese makers dream of what Chinese wine makers have achieved. The urban and affluent Chinese youth are learning more about wine today than ever before. As a result, wine consumption has increased.

The opening of traditional cheese retail outlets in Shanghai, Beijing and other urban China cities is a sign that the middle class is embracing traditional cheese.

The Beijing Cheese Maker, or Le Fromager de Pekin as it’s called, believes the tangy flavor of traditional cheese will not deter the Chinese.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *