Employees address consumer queries on salmon imported from Norway during the Norwegian Winter Market, a trade fair, held in Shanghai in February. [Photo/China Daily]
With the increase in residential incomes and the accelerated consumption upgrade in China, the Norwegian Seafood Council said it is upbeat about China's seafood consumption market and will further develop its business in the country, said its senior executive.
Andreas Thorud, director of NSC China, said: "China is one of the largest seafood and aquacultural markets in terms of both production and supply. It is the most dynamic and exciting growth market for seafood, and its demand for imported seafood will continue to grow."
NSC said that between January and September, Norway's seafood exports to China reached $535 million, up 46 percent on a yearly basis.
"We have witnessed the increase of seafood consumption in China due to a new trend in home cooking and the growing awareness of health and nutrition. We are glad to see that there is increasing demand for healthy and nutritious seafood, and what is more exciting is that apart from Norwegian salmon, which is already popular among Chinese consumers, people also favor other seafood choices, such as mackerel and Arctic cod."
According to a recent report by NSC, consumers' main criteria for imported seafood include its texture and taste, high nutritional value as well as high quality. Origin is also an important criterion, and Norway is the most preferred origin of seafood for many.
With the boom in the stay-at-home economy, around 54 percent of interviewees shop online for imported seafood, and they tend to use well-established platforms, the report said.
Bo Wenxi, chief economist at marketing firm Interpublic Group China, said: "People are paying better attention to what they eat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They tend to pursue foods of higher quality."
Chen Jia, an independent researcher of international strategy, said: "Amid the COVID-19, China's fresh food cold chain has greatly developed. The mature fresh food cold chain network and people's rising demand for a high-quality life led to the explosive growth in seafood imports from Norway."
To meet surging demand in China, NSC opened its official account on WeChat, offering Chinese consumers diversified and creative recipes that feature seafood from Norway, inspiring them to enjoy the delicacies at home. At the same time, local value chain partners can also use the recipes for their marketing and consumer communication activities.
NSC also partnered with offline retailers such as Freshippo and Sam's Club to host offline retail tasting campaigns of Norwegian seafood, including salmon, mackerel and Arctic cod.
"At the upcoming China International Import Expo, NSC, for the first time, will have a stand. We are representing the whole of the Norwegian seafood industry, as well as eight Norwegian seafood companies that are official participants at the 'Seafood from Norway' booth," Thorud said.
"We have a long-term commitment to the Chinese market. We are excited to participate in the event on behalf of the Norwegian seafood industry and tap opportunities for deeper and closer cooperation between Norwegian and Chinese seafood industries. We will jointly develop the market and create win-win results," he said.