Larry Goodman’s ABP strikes deal to sell more Irish beef online in China
JD.com has 302m active users and Goodman family has courted the Chinese market for years
An ABP plant in Co Tipperary. Following the Goodman deal, Chinese consumers will now have additional access to Irish beef, including new products. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
Larry Goodman’s meat empire has struck a deal to export more beef to the lucrative Chinese market, where it is sold online to consumers for home delivery.
The Goodman family’s ABP Food Group, one of the largest food processors in Europe, has reached a deal with its Chinese middleman, Hopewise, to extend the range of ABP beef products for sale on Chinese online retailer JD.com.
The agreement will see an increase in the number of ABP product lines – effectively the different type of beef cuts – sold via JD to Chinese consumers from three to 10.
ABP first struck a deal to export beef cuts to China with Hopewise last July, weeks after this State became the first European country to gain access to the massive Chinese market, where increasing affluence has boosted demand for meat.
The Irish group sells its cuts directly to Hopewise, which chops them up into consumer packs at its facilities in Shanghai and Beijing. The packs are then sold directly to consumers on JD.com, which has 302 million active users.
Following the deal, Chinese consumers will now have additional access to Irish beef, including new products such as chuck steaks and rib fingers. The deal was announced during a visit to ABP’s Clones plant in Co Monaghan by Hopewise executives and Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Up to the end of February, ABP had sold 1,500 tonnes of beef since it entered the Chinese market, sourced from three of its Irish plants.
The Goodmans have actively courted the Chinese market for years, long before it was formally opened to Irish beef. Last February, for example, shortly before the market officially opened up, ABP reached a €50 million deal to supply beef to the Chinese restaurant group Wowprime.
Mr Goodman’s son, Mark, oversees ABP’s international operations.
“Feedback and demand from Chinese consumers about our products on JD.com has been extremely positive,” said Mark Goodman.
“The time is now right for us to extend our range further to include another seven products. These have been developed following six months of close and successful collaboration between our new product development team here in Ireland, our colleagues in China and our distribution partners Hopewise.”
Hopewise said Irish beef was “proving popular” with Chinese consumers.
“They value the fact that the product is fully traceable, hormone free and is produced in green fields,” said Sun Yong Li, chairman of BJ Hopewise.
The Chinese businessman urged the Irish meat industry to “to push for more plant approvals to ensure increased supply” as sales increase.
“The most important thing for JD.com is product availability,” he said.