The report quoted Brendan Jennings, general manager of China International Exhibition Ltd, an organizer of food and wine events, particularly those in Asian markets, saying that China has huge potential as a food importer due to a growing middle class.
The company will launch the 14th FHC, China's largest global food, wine and hospitality exhibition, in Shanghai this week from Nov 10 -12.
A record 1,017 companies from 79 countries and regions will participate in the exhibition, up from 849 companies last year, organisers said.
"The mainland, in terms of food and wine events, has just overtaken Hong Kong to become the second-biggest show in our group. And we are fast catching up with Singapore to be the biggest," Jennings said.
"The prospect of the imported food market in China is huge. It's just the beginning," he said.
The Shanghai Import Food Enterprise Association has similarly witnessed the growth in the imported food market over the years.
"The market in Shanghai is growing each year because of the stronger purchasing ability of the consumers," said Zhang She, head of the association's communication department.
Food safety problems in China are also main factors contributing to the growth in the imported food market, he said.
"Many customers choose imported food because it not only meets the safety standard of its country of origin, but also passes the inspection and quarantine in China," he said.
According to the association, the volume of imported dairy products, especially milk powder and fresh milk from Australia and New Zealand, is increasing rapidly in recent years.
"High-end imported foods used to dominate the market years ago. But now we can see imported foods of different levels in the market for different kinds of people," he said.
"The number of domestic customers is growing and half of our customers are Chinese now," said Cheng Chen, who works at the business planning department of City Shop, a supermarket company selling imported products with nine outlets in Shanghai and one in Beijing.
"Our Chinese customers are basically white-collar workers who are pursuing a better quality of life," she said. -- Source: ChinaDaily.com