Asia Briefing: Food safety scandals lift overseas brands

Ireland still not in top 10 in terms of consumers’ awareness as a source, study shows

Chinese Coca-Cola Co beverages  in Beijing, China

Chinese Coca-Cola Co beverages in Beijing, China


A raft of gruesome food safety scandals in China have boosted local preference for overseas food brands, but Ireland is still not in the top 10 in terms of consumer awareness, a study by the market research group DDMA has shown.

The big winners were Australian and New Zealand food companies, as confidence of the rapidly developing Chinese middle class has been steadily eroded by persistent food scandals, because they are the most visible countries.

Food safety still tops the list of social concerns held by Chinese consumers, the report shows. “Ireland fell just outside the top 10 countries profiled in this report . . . the level of familiarity with Ireland is low,” says Sam Mulligan, director of DDMA China.

However, “19 per cent of Chinese consumers interviewed in this study stated that they would consider buying food from Ireland,” Mulligan says.

Some familiarity
“Among those that have some level of familiarity with Ireland, the country is considered to have high levels of food safety, the environment is considered to be of average quality, the companies are considered to be average in terms of integrity, but food companies from Ireland are rated above average in terms of the use of advanced technology.”

The report notes how Ireland could benefit from China’s interest in imported food. The appeal of Australian and New Zealand brands is driven by perceptions of food from an unpolluted, clean and natural environment, for example, while the appeal for German food brands is driven by respect for German corporate governance.

The report says 46 per cent of Chinese consumers seek out foreign food brands, while preference for foreign food brands increases with income level.

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