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  • Oysters: a trendy product in China?

    12 October 2017Latest news & trends in food & drink

    The oyster, a product that can be used in many different ways, is winning over more and more Chinese consumers. How do the Chinese eat this shellfish? What distribution channels are there and how do the Chinese see the oyster? Here are a few answers.

    Chinese oyster production impacted by pollution

     

    Though China is the world’s leading oyster producer, accounting for 82% of the world’s harvest, Chinese consumers are somewhat wary. Today, the levels of pollution in China’s waters has impacted the quality of oyster production so much that the Chinese are now turning to imported products. China has been importing French oysters for over 10 years.

     

     

    The oyster – a healthy, tasty product

     

    The oyster is considered as a wholesome product with a flavour that is loved by many. Traditionally eaten fried or steamed, the oyster can also be used to make a variety of sauces. However, eating oysters raw is a new practice.

     

    In terms of taste, preferences vary once again. Whereas the French like their oysters plump and salty, Chinese consumers tend to go for oysters that are larger and less salty.

     

                                                                          

    Photo credit : Pinterest

     

    What distribution channels?

     

    Imported oysters are mainly sold at high-end gourmet stores, fine restaurants, oyster bars and five-star hotels. Until recently, imported oysters were eaten primarily in so-called first tiers cities (i.e. cities with a GDP ranging from $18 to $67 billion such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing) at Christmas, for the New Year and during the Spring Festival. In the past year or so, an increasing number of Western-style oyster bars have been opening up in secondary Chinese cities.

     

    Is the oyster becoming hip?

     

    The oyster even has its very own celebration in China, the Shuck off Festival,which brings together renowned chefs, champion oyster shuckers and throngs of food lovers hungry to find new tips on how to cook up this tasty shellfish.

     

    Worth keeping an eye on…