Ready-to-cook Chinese cuisine big hit in Canada

2023-03-22 08:38:00China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Employees present frozen premade meals in Foshan, Guangdong province, in January. (PHOTO/ CHINA DAILY)

Guangdong firm aims for dishes to be as common overseas as pizza

Quick-frozen, semicooked Chinese food has been gaining momentum domestically since the COVID-19 pandemic, and is expected to appear more often overseas as supermarkets and restaurants in Canada cater to a growing demand for authentic Chinese food.

Guangdong province held a ready-to-cook meal development forum in Toronto in early February, and a large number of dignitaries and celebrities attended the forum, organizers said. During the event, the Guangdong Prepared Cuisine Industry Development Center of North America was established.

Representatives from major Canadian Asian supermarkets and Chinese food takeout and delivery companies attended the forum. Speaking at the forum, they expressed a willingness to introduce more ready-to-cook meals from China as they look to further expand sales, organizers said.

Frozen dishes require only simple reheating and thanks to advanced cold-chain transportation, they can be delivered with extended quality guarantee times. Sales of such meals, including meats, seafood, vegetables and hot pot, have been growing rapidly.

"Amidst a range of global challenges, having conversations about food industries, products and supplies is more important than ever before," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote in a letter to the forum. "The occasion was an opportunity to recognize the immense contributions that Asian Canadians have made and continue to make every day to our shared nation."

Guangdong Evergreen Group, a private company involved in businesses such as feed production, aquaculture, aquatic products processing and foreign trade, attended the Toronto forum. The company said the Canadian government's support for Guangdong ready-to-cook meals has further boosted its confidence in developing such products.

The company has already sold some frozen meals at Canadian supermarkets. They include fish and fotiaoqiang, a traditional thick soup made of a variety of seafood, as well as meat and braised sea cucumber. Such ready-to-cook meals are produced in centralized kitchens and quick-frozen.

Evergreen said it is developing more types of quick-frozen foods, and it hopes to provide more options to Chinese who live overseas as well as non-Chinese consumers. The company hopes that these consumers will begin to turn to pre-prepared dishes as easily as they do to frozen pizza.

During the event, some ready-to-cook dishes were prepared for the guests. They included roast fish, sauerkraut fish, crayfish, shrimp slip, pomfret, bass, shrimp dumplings and steamed pork dumplings.

"Prepared dishes satisfy the demand of the times, and it has been an emerging sector with significant growth potential. I hope Guangdong's ready-to-cook meal sector will expand in Canada and more overseas Chinese residents and Canadians will have a chance to taste delicious Chinese food," said Li Tong, Chinese commercial consul in Toronto.

"The ready-to-cook meal business segment is also expected to drive the upstream and downstream development of local industrial chains, and further promote economic and trade exchanges and practical cooperation between China and Canada," Li said.


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