Seafood brands join forces to supply Chinese market

China’s middle class is keen on Irish seafood, with exports rising 80 per cent last year

 

With Chinese consumers checking the origin of the food ever more carefully, the market offers an opportunity for some of the foods that Ireland does best, such as seafood.

Irish seafood companies have focused on markets such as Germany and France, but for those prepared to look a bit further afield, there are opportunities.

China ’s booming middle class is keen on Irish seafood and exports here rose 80 per cent last year.

Four Irish seafood companies – McBride Fishing, Carr Shellfish, Shellfish De La Mer and Sofrimar – have banded together to form a joint venture called Jade Ireland Seafood, with an office in Shanghai.

Under the Ocean Jade brand, they sell a range of live and processed seafood, including crab, lobster, mussels, prawns, scallops and white fish.

Ocean Jade seafood is available at upmarket retail outlets around Shanghai and over St Patrick’s weekend, Bord Bia and the retailer CityShop in the Shanghai Centre organised the first Irish Food Festival, with Ocean Jade in pride of place.

“The Irish seafood sector is small in comparison to our competitors and we quickly realised that in order to compete effectively and to supply such a large market in China, we would need to use our collective resources,” said Hugh McBride, director of Jade Ireland.

“Our strategic vision is to establish Irish seafood and the Ocean Jade brand as the leading premium quality seafood on the Chinese market.”

The brand was launched in November last year at the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, one of the country’s largest seafood trade shows, in Dalian, with more than 15,000 attendees.

“Ocean Jade was fortunate to have excellent hotels, restaurants and chefs in Ireland to take Irish seafood to the next level,” said Shellfish De La Mer’s director, Peter O’Sullivan Greene.