Frozen foods take off in China

Total sales of frozen foods in China soared to USD 14 billion in 2008, up 140% over 2002. Tonnage reached about 4.615 million, or 3.47 kilograms per capita, up 70% according to Research & Markets. Frozen potato products were the fastest growing sector, but had started at a low baseline level. The largest sector is for frozen ready meals, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated and domestic-market-targeted. The regional extension of the rural appliances rebate scheme, which includes fridge-freezers, along with significant recent expansion of retail chains into rural regions, could add several million new households as owners of such appliances, creating a large new consumer group for frozen foods. The race is on to stimulate consumption in rural China, driving a need for new transport and storage facilities, computerized inventory, a closed cold-chain, modern management systems and other key features of a developed retail system. Frozen foods are predicted to grow fast in China, providing opportunities for rising market shares for leaders such as Shineway, Zhongpin, Yurun and Synear. The total frozen food market is expected to grow by over 30% over the next 5 years, to reach USD 20 billion.