Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products Co, which is based in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, will make a foray into the precooked dish market of Europe with the first shipment to be delivered to Britain in November.
The dishes include hot pot shrimp paste, tilapia slices, frozen roasted tilapia of spicy flavor, tilapia soup with pickled vegetables, spicy-flavored frozen boiled tilapia slices and spicy frozen crawfish.
A major aquatic product company in China, Guolian will also start shipping precooked dishes to Canada in November — frozen roasted tilapia with pineapple this time.
It generated $10.21 million in revenue from precooked dish exports to Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand in the first eight months of this year.
The premade dish market has huge potential and various local governments have extended support for this sector. On the export side, Chinese-style precooked dishes are also in high demand with a population of 60 million overseas Chinese, said Chen Shuang, Guolian's sales director for the global market.
The company will promote its precooked dishes in overseas events and deepen research on the demand in overseas markets, she said.
To expand the overseas market, staffs with international capability are key and the company will build up its strength with training and cooperation with other companies.
China's prepared meals saw sales of 345.9 billion yuan ($48 billion) last year. The figure is expected to rise to 516.5 billion yuan next year, according to market consultancy iiMedia Research.
Zhanjiang has rich aquatic resources and is an important spot for aquatic farming, processing and export, with complete industrial and supply chains.
Previously, the city mainly exported primarily processed aquatic products with relatively low added value, said Ou An, an official with Zhanjiang Customs.
Customs has made an important item for study of how to help steer aquatic product enterprises toward high-quality development and expand the export of pre-prepared dishes, Ou said.
Customs has established an expert team to guide companies on aspects such as different requirements in various export countries, optimization of processing techniques and formulation of product examination standards.
It has also worked on the list of Customs duty reductions related to pre-prepared dishes with aquatic products in light of the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.
Zhanjiang companies exported about $30.3 million worth of pre-prepared dishes with aquatic products in the first nine months of this year.
Meanwhile, Guangzhou Customs, another Customs entity in Guangdong, oversaw the export of 23,000 metric tons of precooked dishes worth of 1.36 billion yuan in the first eight months.