Lifestyle

U.S. beef imports hit Chinese market

China’s top online retailers and U.S. superstore giant Walmart are scrambling to satisfy the voracious appetites of consumers excited about the first American beef to arrive in the world’s most populous nation in 14 years.

Beef is the fastest-growing meat sector in China, outstripping stagnant demand for more widely eaten pork, with consumers seeking healthier sources of protein and adopting Western eating habits.

China’s beef imports hit $2.6 billion last year, making it the world’s fastest-growing overseas market for the meat. Consumer excitement about the lifting of a 2003 ban due to a scare over mad cow disease looks set to help U.S. beef grab a significant share of that demand.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is in Beijing to mark the return of U.S. beef to China, and is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart, Agriculture Minister Han Changfu, as well as Vice Premier Wang Yang.

Some of the millions who buy food online are expected to join the woman in the Sams Club store as some of the first to buy U.S. beef in China in more than a decade. Social media has been buzzing for weeks with those ready to tuck into American steak.

Womai.com, owned by food giant COFCO aid it had received more than 1,605 orders for beef from U.S. meat giant Tyson by late Wednesday.

JD.com, one of the country’s biggest online retailers, has started pre-sales of U.S. beef ahead of the product’s availability from mid-July.

Online meat is typically around 10 percent cheaper than it is in stores, according to Euromonitor.

Imported meat accounted for more than 30 percent of JD.com’s meat sales last year, with Australian beef the top category and the most searched-for item, the company said.

Still, food safety fears linger, despite Beijing’s stringent import requirements.

Source: Voice of Nigeria