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China Daily Website

Chinese food firms look abroad to improve image

Updated: 2013-12-17 07:34
By Lyu Chang ( China Daily)

Chinese food firms look abroad to improve image

Earlier reports said that one in 10 meals was cooked in China using oil dredged from sewers. In 2008, a contaminated milk scandal left six infants dead and an estimated 300,000 sickened.

Experts said the popularity of imported food in China is the driving force behind the move, which has been fueled in recent years by fears of domestic food contamination.

"There's a perception in China that imported foods are of better quality and of a higher standard than domestic food," said Chen Lianfang, a senior analyst in the dairy sector at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultants Ltd. "So 'Made in Korea' products have become more and more popular in China and show the concerns over food safety."

Shanghai TDL Food & Beverage Co Ltd, which specializes in vitamin beverages, juices and dairy foods, boasts an annual revenue of $150 million. It signed an agreement last year with Foodpolis, planning to set up a facility there in order to cooperate with a Korean ginseng company.

"We want to develop and produce a ginseng-based beverage. The collaboration will eventually broaden our portfolio and strengthen our position in the Chinese market," the Shanghai-based company, a producer for Japanese brewing and distilling group Suntory, said in a statement.

As South Korean romantic soap operas appeal to more Chinese women, there is also a growing appetite among the Chinese for Korean foods.

"I follow many Korean TV shows every week and am probably influenced by that. Korean kimchi and bibimbap are among my favorite dishes among all international cuisines," said Elena Wang in a Beijing supermarket where all kinds of Korean foods can be found.